Midterm grades at the University of Lynchburg were released on Monday, Sept 28.
For some, this was a welcome acknowledgement of their hard work so far in the semester, and for others, it was an alert of where they may be struggling. Some students have expressed their reservations about learning in the COVID-19 environment as they navigate hybrid, asynchronous, and completely online learning environments. In addition, seniors are wrestling with capstones, theses, internships, and Senior Symposium.
Hannah Pine, a senior mathematics and environmental science double major, explained that her “semester has been much harder with COVID.” She said it is “a combination of vague due dates, technologically challenged professors, and really slow [email] replies” rather than any fear of COVID itself. She added that her “in-person sessions for my GIS lab and yoga are much more fulfilling than my professors pre-taped lectures.”
Virtual Mock Recruitment for the Panhellenic sororities at the University of Lynchburg will occur on Oct. 11.
Mock recruitment is put on by Panhellenic Council every fall semester for potential new members, or PNMs, to attend so that they can learn about Greek life and what the formal recruitment process, which occurs in the spring, looks like.
Kara Barnes, a senior, is the Panhellenic vice president of recruitment. She oversees recruitment, making plans and working with each chapter’s recruitment director to ensure operations run as they should. She explained, “I will go over basically the eligibility requirements, each chapter we have on campus, and what each chapter does and all the details about that, and then they will get a chance to actually talk to the chapters like they would during recruitment.”
The Bonner Leader Program at the University of Lynchburg is a work-study program with a mission to help the local community through service.
According to Tasha Gillum, who is the Bonner Leader program coordinator, “Bonner Leaders are committed to community service, leadership, and social justice, and work with our partners to address community needs like food and housing insecurity, poverty, college access, environmental sustainability, and more.”
The Bonner Leader Program helps students by “provid[ing] an ‘opportunity to serve’ by leveraging work-study funding to enable students to earn money for college through their community work with local non-profits,” said Gillum. “The ‘access to education’ portion of the Bonner Program’s motto references the Bonner Foundation’s requirement that schools with Bonner Leaders have at least 75% of the participating students qualify for Federal Work-Study. Schools have the option to award students with ‘College Work-Study’ or some other private source for the student stipends.”
The fall 2020 Thornton Reading featuring Cyrus Cassells has been rescheduled for Thursday, Oct. 1, at 7:30 p.m.
According to Jer Bryant, assistant professor of English and director of the Wilmer Writing Center, “We are going to have Cyrus Cassells, who is a poet, read from his quite extensive body of work. I believe his first publication came out in 1981. He teaches at Texas State University. […] He has won a lot of really important awards.”
Bryant said, “He has won the National Poetry Series, a Lamda Literary Award, which is a pretty significant award given to gay and lesbian writers. He was a Guggenheim Fellow and he received a Pushcart Prize, which is a big deal, and he was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for his criticism of film and television reviews in the Washington Spectator.”
As the University of Lynchburg moved to a hybrid curriculum, there have been some adjustments both for students and faculty.
Assistant Professor of Criminology, Daniel Murphy, stated, “I will be glad when we can teach in a traditional setting again as I miss the constant interaction with my students. However, I am proud of all the UL students who have taken the COVID virus seriously allowing us to have at least limited in-classroom experience while so many other colleges around the country have been forced to go completely online as they haven’t been able to control the virus to the same level that we currently have in place. UL Rocks!”
There have been ongoing discussions at the University of Lynchburg about the implementation of emotional support animals.
An Emotional Support Animal (ESA), according to Dr. Emily Wood, a counselor at the University o, is an animal with “the purpose … to help provide comfort and support to someone who struggles with mental health issues.” Almost any animal can be an emotional support animal, but are not the same as family pets, which according to the University’s Emotional Support Animals Residential Policy, “is defined as an animal kept for ordinary use and companionship.”
Despite ESAs being more for emotional and mental comfort than physical comfort, the Counseling service is not too involved with the registration of ESAs on campus. Instead it is handled by disabilities services. However, Wood recommends “talking to your physician and psychiatrist about your personal mental health issues and whether or not an ESA would be appropriate. […] If an ESA is recommended … it would be important to think of the long-term responsibility the ESA would require. It would also be important in considering what type of ESA would be appropriate for you,” if you are debating getting an ESA.
Construction has begun on a bridge to replace the part of Lakeside Drive that runs over College Lake’s dam.
In an announcement on the City of Lynchburg’s official website, it was stated: “The City of Lynchburg and the University of Lynchburg are pleased to announce that the first phase of the College Lake Dam Removal Project is underway. The purpose of the project is twofold: to remove the 85-year-old high-hazard dam and to restore the resulting lakebed to a thriving environment where Blackwater Creek can re-emerge after more than eight decades.”
Dr. Laura Henry-Stone, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, said, “The city has two different departments who are working on this project. The Department of Public Works is overseeing the building of the new bridge. That is actually what is happening right now down there on Lakeside Drive and the lake where they have cleared a lot of the trees and there is construction going on. That is to prepare to build a new bridge. They will not remove the dam and drain the lake until that new bridge is finished. That is scheduled for December of 2022. […] So it’s a massive, multifaceted project.”
University of Lynchburg Interim Women’s Volleyball Head Coach, Hannah Givens is enthusiastic about resuming the postponed volleyball season in spring 2021.
Givens said, “When I stepped foot on the campus, I easily realized how special this University is. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would become head coach, but I am so thankful that I have been given this opportunity. I wanted to become a hornet because I saw the community that the individuals here shared. When you talk to the students, faculty, and staff, it is obvious that being a hornet is something that everyone is proud of.”
Despite not being able to coach any matches yet as head coach, Givens has experience as she was the assistant coach last year for Head Coach Beth Ellinger, her predecessor at the University of Lynchburg.
The University of Lynchburg’s senior symposium topics for the fall 2020 semester focuses on democracy and American ideals.
Dr. Edith Simms who has taught the senior symposium class since 2014 said, “participating in students’ growth as writers and critical thinkers” is central.
This semester she is facilitating the class in-person with a strict social distancing and mask wearing policy. She also stated that even with the social distancing and bouncing between in-person and online, “students are [still] engaging in wonderful class discussions.”
At 12:26 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 14, the University of Lynchburg Emergency Alert System alarms were activated, announcing a dangerous situation on campus. At 12:32 p.m., a LiveSafe text went out declaring it a system malfunction.
This is not the first time the system has malfunctioned. On Oct. 16, 2019, the alarm system malfunctioned, also announcing that there was a dangerous situation on campus. Bob Driskill, Director of Security, sent an email then that said, “Several concerns were sent to me in response to today’s unintentional activation of the outdoor Campus Early Alert System (CEAS). I thought this would be a great opportunity to resend the emergency notification process again.”
Commuter students at the University of Lynchburg are being invited to participate in Commuter Appreciation Week (CAW) with events occurring on campus Sept. 15 through Sept. 18.
Brennan Gourley is the program and advising coordinator for second-year and transfer transition initiatives. Part of her role is working with non-traditional students, which includes commuter students.
Gourley explained that there are four events taking place for this semester’s CAW: a grab-and-go cupcake event on Tuesday, a lunch for commuters on Wednesday, a grab-and-go soup event on Thursday, and a movie-themed trivia night on Friday.
Dean of the Westover Honors College, Dr. Beth Savage has launched the second iteration of her Book Club at the University of Lynchburg.“We read books and discuss them,” Dr. Beth Savage, organizer of the club, said.
Savage says that part of her motivation for the club is that she enjoys people coming together for a common interest and getting to socialize about the content of the books they read.
Some of the books they plan on reading and have read within the club are Shirley Jackson’s “The Haunting of Hillhouse,” Madeline Miller’s “Circe,” and Henry James’ “Turn of the Screw.”
The Outdoor Leadership Program (OLP) at the University of Lynchburg has recorded a spike in attendance since students returned to campus in the midst of the Covid-19pandemic. Tim Slusser has been in charge of the club since 2018 notes that they are taking extra precautions against Covid so students can still enjoy the great outdoors.
Slusser said, “The Outdoor Leadership Program is privileged and the fact that we are naturally socially distant on many of our trips. So it really only took some slight modifications to our policies and procedures to be able to run trips.”
OLP has an array of activities to do from swimming and hiking to rock climbing. Slusser’s favorite trips involve whitewater rafting. In the fall semester, students go to the New River Gorge in West Virginia and in the spring semester, the whitewater rafting trip takes place on the Nolichucky River in Tennessee. However, Slusser said he loves, “to lead the expedition style trips that take place over the fall and spring breaks. I really enjoy seeing the growth that takes place on these types of trips.”
On Sept. 7, 2020, the University of Lynchburg began allowing in-person classes and athletic practices. When the University initially moved to Alert Level 2, many coaches were disappointed in the turn of events.
Enza Steele, head coach of the women’s field hockey team, said, “Disappointment was my initial reaction but my primary thought was that the students and campus need to be safe. Another week of no in person contact is okay as long as the campus is safer, and we get better control on this pandemic. My players were able to get outside and do fitness training which helped with their own disposition.”
Looking for something to do, and it is free? This Saturday, September 19th, 2020, CrossFit Lynchburg will be holding a free introduction to CrossFit class! The class is available for anyone, regardless of weight, age, gender/sex, working out experience, and CrossFit experience! The class will go from 9:00 am to approximately 10:00 am at 2306 Bedford Ave, Lynchburg VA 24503 between Small Batch Barbeque and Golf Park Coffee. If interested or have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (434) 922-0189, or just show up! Be sure to arrive early because space is limited, and fills up quickly!