Tag Archives: students

Campus Safety Walk Sheds Light on Radford’s Darkest Places

On Wednesday, October 26th, the members of the Radford community, including the Student Government Association, Radford City and University police departments, university administrators, along with other students came together for the university’s bi-annual Campus Safety Walk. This event, taking place once each semester for the past four years, allows for these groups to meet together and identify safety concerns on campus and in the surrounding communities. Through their collaboration, this group identifies areas with improper lighting, emergency phones, and sidewalks that need updating in order to ensure that students are comfortable walking after sundown.

While it seems like a small effort, the impact of this event can be seen throughout the community. Over the last four years,

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“Through their collaboration, this group identifies areas with improper lighting, emergency phones, and sidewalks that need updating.”

Radford has seen an increase in the amount of safety measures taken, such as brighter, more numerous street lamps and the installation of new emergency phones on campus. Many of these improvements can be attributed to the Walk, which allows for direct communication between students and administrators and helps them find the greatest areas for concern.

This year, the team was able to identify several areas that needed to be addressed, however, the total number of unsafe areas has decreased because of the year-to-year improvements that are being made.

All in all, these walks are a great time for people to come together for the greater good of our community; the more frequent interactions students and leaders can have with one another, the safer Radford University and our city will be.

Increasing School Spirit

As a university without a football team it can be difficult to find school spirit.  We don’t have football games or a traditional homecoming weekend so the next biggest sport is basketball.  Unfortunately, the basketball courts are somewhat far from campus and student housing.  This prevents people from wanting to go support the team because they either don’t have cars or simply don’t want to travel or walk that far to go to the games.

Another problem is the advertising of our sports teams.  As a previous student athlete I remember our coaches handing us tiny flyers and asking us to hand them out to people on campus, in our dorms, and our classes.  We did so but most people ended up throwing them away or forgetting about them.  No one was really interested in women’s soccer either so that was the negative side of handing out flyers.

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“As a previous student athlete I remember our coaches handing us tiny flyers and asking us to hand them out to people on campus, in our dorms, and our classes.”

The university also sends out emails about upcoming athletic events but they do it as a bulk email not individual emails for each game or sport.  Most students see that header and automatically delete it because they think it’s another basic email informing them about something that doesn’t necessarily pertain to them.  If individual emails were sent out and a little more effort put into them maybe it would motivate students to want to attend the games.

Basically, the one problem that can’t be fixed about our school spirit is having football games, which do generate the most school spirit.  However, if we put more effort into advertising the events and getting the information and option of attending athletic events out there to more students more frequently and efficiently, maybe we can increase attendance rates and hopefully that will increase school spirit.

Our student athletes put in a lot of time and effort into their sport including practices, rehab, and study hall hours so when they don’t get a good turn out for the games it can be a little discouraging and frustrating.  Nonetheless, they continue working hard for their university as a student and an athlete so hopefully there will be a rise in school spirit soon.

Keep calm and wait three minutes

I’m sitting in my 8 am class, anxiously waiting for my professor to finish her lecture. The clock strikes 8:47, when all of the sudden I hear rustling from all over the classroom, along with zippers being opened and books being slammed closed. I finally look around to investigate what’s happening and I realize everyone is packing up. My professor is still talking, yet here everyone is, putting all their things away while being extremely loud and rude.

There are only three minutes left, can’t you wait? People who enjoy the class or maybe respect their teacher can’t hear what she’s saying because you can’t wait three single solitary minutes.

Seriously. It's all gonna be okay. Just chill out and wait. Photo from keepcalmandposters
Seriously. It’s all gonna be okay. Just chill out and wait. Photo from keepcalmandposters

This has always been a pet peeve of mine. Not only because it’s annoying, but also because I feel bad for the professors who are still trying to get the material in with the small time they have left. It’s disrespectful not only to the professors, but also to the other students who crave to hear what’s being said in the last three minutes of class.

I understand that, maybe you hate this class and you can’t wait to leave it, you have a class right after this one and need to be quick, or that you simply don’t care about other people, but what’s the true difference between packing up three minutes before class ends or right when class ends? It takes you 15 seconds to put all of your things away. 15 seconds that could be spent after the teacher says we can go. I don’t care if you are dying to get out of class. It’s a matter of respect, to the other students as well as the professor, and if you want the professor to respect you and then you should show respect in return.

Bottom line friends, just wait until class is over. I promise, it won’t kill you or make you late. It’ll probably help you in the long run if you need help with an assignment or desperately need an extension. Respect goes a long way, in every endeavor you wish to achieve, so you might as well start now. You never know how many events you’ll have to suffer through in the future, so learning how to respectfully get through them now will only help you down the line.

Now you get an “F”!

You crane your neck around to track the movements of the stack of papers. You wait anxiously until the sheet of paper lands on your desk, your fate scrawled across its top in red ink. Such is the life of a student; whether that ink is on paper or a neat script online, it stings the same when you see a low grade. For your whole career as a student, there’s nothing you can do except give your all to avoid a devastating blow like that.

 

Now the teacher gets the F. Graphic by Katie Gibson
Now the F is on you. Graphic by Katie Gibson

That’s what we all used to think, but there’s more that we can do now to save others from that cruelty– the internet. We use it everyday without realizing how much power we have at our fingertips. I don’t mean that we should be using the internet to cheat, but rather, to life-hack. A life hack is “a strategy or technique adopted in order to manage one’s time and daily activities in a more efficient way.” The adaptation is the key in this definition.

Now we are capable of communicating with our peers through ratemyprofessors.com. Most people have heard of this, but are you doing your part? Are you taking the time and effort to write a thoughtful review of your professors so that you can inform your peers of what’s to come? You’ve got a responsibility here. If you access ratemyprofessor, it’s your duty to write reviews of your professors too!

If you’re unfamiliar with ratemyprofessors, it’s a very easy to use website. The home page lets you chose either “Find a Professor,” “Find a School,” or “Rate a Professor.” Students use this website to give their opinions on a professor that they’ve had and see what others have also had to say about them.

They’re rated on overall quality, helpfulness, and clarity. Some of the categories don’t add to the total score of the professor, but give some additional helpful feedback on how a class with that professor would be. Those categories are: easiness, interest level, textbook use, average grade, and even professor hotness! The professor’s hotness is shown with a little chili pepper icon.

 

Students going global: It takes a crowd

The first question most study abroad candidates have is how to fund their overseas excursion. Most college students don’t have a bottomless pit of money to dig into when they want to pursue such grand and advantageous trips. However, thanks to the same technology that is making wealthy men out of making a potato salad, students are now raising money through crowdfunding.

Students should take advantage of global technology. Graphic by Jilletta Becker
Students should take advantage of global technology. Graphic by Jilletta Becker

Crowdfunding has been a known to help many businesses, individuals, and charities over the year by allowing contributors from all over the world to give funds to worthy investments via Kickstarter, Indiegogo, GoFundMe and other hosting sites. This in turn can be taken advantage of in many ways, which RU students have been discovering as they search for ways to enhance their college experience.

There are, of course, both advantages and risks to such an innovative way to raising money.

The benefits include the customization of a personal profile for the candidate, much like a more intimate application. Feedback, however, is more immediate than a scholarship application.

Risks involve the reputation of the user — such a public display does mean that everyone has access to your progress. And of course, there is always the risk of failure due to the public fear of abuse for such modes of fundraising. However, with a smaller goal and the marketing vehicle of friends and family, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem for students.

Those of you who have been in search of just such a replacement or supplement to financial aid, scholarships, and loans can now look at websites specifically created to host such campaigns, like Fund My Travel. Already these attempts have had some success, such as RU’s own Jodie McKaughan who used crowdfunding to finance two study abroad internships this past summer.

With the use of global technology, it only makes sense that students should take advantage of the global advantages.

The dangers of anonymity in a small community

Radford isn’t the first university to incorporate a “crushes” page onto their online community. Much like the meme page and confessions page, universities seem to have their own special brand of Facebook fads that sweep through and keep people entertained for a few weeks before they lose interest and move on to the next fad. However, RU Crushes seems to have hit RU particularly hard, pulling in well over 2,200 fans in its first week. Continue reading The dangers of anonymity in a small community

Balanced body, balanced you: Tips to a happier and healthier lifestyle

Like many students at Radford University, I took a vow for the new year to improve my body. I decided instead of losing that gut or those thunder thighs, I would instead work on my thumbs. I don’t know how to explain this, but ever since I upgraded to a iPhone, my thumbs have also gained some extra pounds. I can no longer just hit the “b” key; I end up hitting the “lyuf” key. Whenever I text someone “want to hang out,” I always end up sending “eant yo hang oup?” These mistakes I blame upon my overweight thumbs.

A thumb that does not stay on just one button. Image from Creative Commons.
A thumb that does not stay on just one button. Image from Creative Commons.

In all seriousness, many students have started the trek of losing weight or trying to improve themselves. In my opinion, one must follow five easy rules in order to succeed into looking like a less-hot Megan Fox. Continue reading Balanced body, balanced you: Tips to a happier and healthier lifestyle

Mr. RU helps out local animal shelter

The Mr. Radford University pageant started the holiday season right by donating its proceeds to the local animal shelter. On Nov. 7 at 4:30 p.m., Robert Worley, Aaron Ciarrocchi, Chris Grigsby and Owen Wise all brought their best talents to the table to fight for the title of Mr. RU, and boy did they deliver. Continue reading Mr. RU helps out local animal shelter

Chris Jones hypnotizes parents weekend

Hypnotist Chris Jones had the audience in a trance as he closed up Radford University’s Family Weekend with an evening of “twisted mind magic.” In a show that was as much stand-up comedy as it was magic, he had moms, dads and students alike doing everything from dancing for a scholarship to hiding from the police. Continue reading Chris Jones hypnotizes parents weekend

Food banks for students help during tough times

Student-run food banks are on the rise on US college campuses. Many campuses that already have food banks have seen an increase in usage from between 25-50%. Quite a few other colleges are organizing the food banks to help a growing population of starving college students. A lot of people tend to forget how hard college students have been hit with this recession. Younger students in elementary, middle and high school often get discounted or free lunch if they’re from a struggling family. I think people assume that if we can afford to go to college then we can afford to eat.

Sometimes that isn’t true. Many people get to go to college solely on financial aid and student loans. More than 60% of RU students receive financial aid. What people don’t realize is the financial aid doesn’t cover any other bills a student might have — phone bill, car insurance, car payment or rent.

According to the US Census Bureau’s 2009 data, Southwest Virginia is statistically poorer than the rest of Virginia. Most of the surrounding counties have a higher poverty rate than Virginia as a whole, with 33% of Radford City and 19% of Montgomery County residents living under the poverty line. The state of Virginia has a 10.6% poverty rate.

I know a lot of students who attend RU are from the area, and with poverty rates like these I’m assuming some students need help. As a working student, I feel extremely grateful for all my family helps pay for, but I know what it feels like to be given the choice between food and bills. During the semester, I can work 30 hours a week at most; when you’re making little over minimum wage, sometimes that doesn’t cut it.

A full cart of food to be donated to a food bank. Photo from Creative Commons.

And many people have it worse than I do. Some students come from large families whose parents were laid off and their college funds drained. There are people who are completely on their own and are paying for college out of pocket, taking as many credits as they can afford. There are some college students with children or families who depend on them financially.

I believe RU should adopt a food bank for students so they can focus more on their education and less on how to pay for groceries. Food banks at universities work like regular food banks; they accept cash donations or non-perishable food items and are available to those that need them. The food bank would provide some nutrition and variety for students living off Ramen noodles and Red Bull. The food donated wouldn’t have to be expensive — a lot of times, anything helps.

Volunteers helping sort items at a food bank. Photo from Creative Commons.

With the economic climate the way it is, the recession hasn’t only drained students’ pockets, but their hopes as well. We came to college because that’s what we were supposed to do to get a good job, one that would at least put food on the table. Now, we have students who can barely feed themselves looking to possible unemployment.

I think all universities should have food banks. They’re a life support for many students. A main reason students drop out of college is financial turmoil, and I think a food bank would combat that. We’re a demographic forgotten by many, so I think if we helped each other, just a little bit, it would make the campus an easier place to be.

Health: It’s not just physical

Photo from Creative Commons.

Susie Ramsland is a senior psychology major at the University of Mary Washington who lives with a variety of psychological illnesses. She has a panic/anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and major depressive episodes, and she chooses to go without any medication. She is majoring in psychology because she wants the people she encounters to be able to relate to her and learn from her experiences.

“At one point my panicking got so bad that I couldn’t even get behind the wheel of a car,” Ramsland said. “I was the only 17-year-old at my high school who wasn’t learning to drive, and I was too afraid to tell people what was going on because I knew they would see me differently — I mean, it’s high school.”

This is when Ramsland decided it was time to see a psychologist, and she said therapy did wonders for her. After her first few visits, Ramsland started working with her therapist to discover the root of her fears, and after several sessions her therapist started to walk her through different ways to deal with her anxiety.

“She told me that she has a lot of patients my age and that I should get comfortable with everything I have because it’s a part of who I am, and it doesn’t make me any less of a great person,” Ramsland said. “She also said that the people who really care about me wouldn’t care. I was really determined to be confident again so I swallowed my worry and I became really open about everything. I ended up being really surprised because it turned out the more I talked about it, the more people wanted to know.”

Mental illness isn’t the terrifying diagnosis it used to be, and in today’s society more college-aged people are seeking therapy and answers.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five college students is living with a psychological illness, so at a school like Radford University with a population of about 10,000 students, around 2,000 are living with a psychological illness. NAMI provided other statistics that said one out of three college-aged people said they have lived with “prolonged periods of serious depression” and one out of every four said they have had suicidal thoughts.

National Alliance on Mental Illness logo. Photo from Creative Commons.

NAMI has recently begun a push for parents to talk to their teens about mental illnesses so they are aware and prepared for the independence and psychological stress that accompanies college life. The main point is to keep an open dialogue with young adults in order to identify what they are feeling and whether those feelings are signs of something bigger. Almost half of college-aged people polled by NAMI reported that they have poor mental health, while only 25% of parents reported any behavior that they thought could be a warning sign.

The biggest issue is awareness; parents are often unaware, so they don’t know how to prepare their children, and in turn, their children go away just fine and come back with an undiagnosed case of depression or anxiety, and neither parent nor student knows how to handle it.

Many universities are becoming more aware of the conditions their students are affected by and have stepped up their support programs and the availability of university-employed counselors.

Schools like Radford University and Virginia Tech offer student health and counseling services to their students for little to no charge in hopes that students will take advantage of the opportunity to get help early.

As reported in a previous article, Radford University’s Director of Student Counseling Services Erin Sullivan said the number of students seeking counseling with her department increased by nearly 48% from the 2007-2008 year to 2009-2010.

The programs offered by schools are not usually meant to be long term, but they are able to refer students to long-term therapists and psychologists. Radford University offers counseling for individuals, couples and groups in hopes that therapy will relieve the stress that many students experience every day. They offer medication evaluation and management, so students can have a professional available when they have questions and concerns about their personal health. Radford University also provides educational services to its students for free. This service informs students about a variety of subjects from mental health issues to stress management, anxiety, depression, sexual health, alcohol and substance use, and nutrition.

Jennifer Simpson, a Resident Assistant at Radford University, said that she has had her fair share of experiences with mental illnesses.

“Even before I was an RA, I knew residents with mental illnesses,” Simpson said. “One of my good friends suffered from OCD, bipolar disorder, insomnia, paranoia and addiction, but she was a great person. She had episodes, and I was there for her during those […] It was rough, but I was her friend and I wasn’t going to abandon her when she needed me.”

Simpson’s friend left Radford University, but her experience taught her a lot about mental illness and what some people go through in silence.

“I became an RA because I wanted to be the person someone could come to, trust and confide in,” Simpson said. “My residents know I accept them, I’m here to help them and I want them to succeed. I like being the catalyst for some of them; I don’t push them, but I make sure they all know what resources are out there and that I am willing to personally take them if they need me to.”

Many schools like RU are working to provide the services that will keep their students healthy, both mentally and physically; and according to the statistics, more students are taking advantage of those services than ever before. The issue is being addressed by schools, but according to NAMI, the dialogue has to start at home and awareness needs to start early. An open atmosphere will foster healthier more successful individuals and the first step is knowledge and understanding.

New transit system helps solve parking stress

One of the newest additions to Radford University and the City of Radford is the Radford Transit. It’s a thrifty transportation choice that’s better for the environment and for everyone’s wallet. Many students, however, are taking advantage of the new transit system so they can avoid having to worry about parking.

“I use it mostly to get to class because it’s faster than walking, but I don’t have to get to campus really early or stress about parking,” said junior Karlus Brown. “It’s a lot more convenient than the parking mess on campus and I didn’t have to buy a commuter pass, so it saved me a lot of money, too.”

The buses used in the new system are much smaller than the old Tartan Transit buses, so that means they can drop off and pick up at more locations and they are able to stop more frequently for shorter periods of time.

The new Radford Transit bus. Photo courtesy of Radford Transit.

The new public transit system is a collaboration between Radford University and the City of Radford. This collaboration helped relieve the financial burden for both the city and Radford University.

There are a total of five routes, and each route has between 10 and 20 stops. The routes also cater to the needs of the entire population using it. Two routes, 10 and 50, mainly stick to campus running between the parking lots on campus and over the bridge near the athletic facilities and the Armstrong Complex. Route 20 travels from Radford to Fairlawn, where Wal-mart is located, and to the Carilion New River Valley Medical Center. Route 30 travels to west Radford, the Radford recreation center and downtown Main Street. Route 40 travels the longest distances from Radford to Blacksburg and Christiansburg. The times and maps can be found on the transit website.

For many students, Radford Transit is the best change Radford has undergone this year.

“I don’t have a car here, so it’s made my life a whole lot easier,” said senior Chris Montana. “I use it to get to campus a lot, and it’s nice that I don’t have to bum rides off of friends to go to Christiansburg or wait until I know someone is going grocery shopping. I think it’s given students that much more independence.”

However, some students have trouble figuring out the extensive route and stop schedules.

“I wish they would put the schedules on the signs for the stops because I can only access it on my computer and then I either end up waiting a while or running to catch a bus,” said junior Mariela Alvarez.

Some students also have issues with the times that certain routes run. Routes can run as early as 7 a.m. and as late as 2 a.m. while other routes don’t start until 10 a.m. and end at 6 p.m.

“It’s really inconvenient for some routes to not run at certain times while others do,” said senior Dalton Francis. “Who says no one needs a ride to those places anymore? It’s a pain and it can get really confusing. You can end up at the bus exchange center and be totally lost. I don’t think it’s fair.”

Though Radford Transit is still trying to work out a few kinks, the overall organization and system are considered a success. Many stops are in high demand and students as well as citizens of Radford are taking full advantage of the free service.

“It’s so busy in the early morning at the Greenhill Apartments stop that they had to add a second run,” said Area Director Dave Falletta. “So, it’s definitely been good for students, and they seem to like it a lot.”