IRON BLADE Vol. 60, No. 9
60 Years of Ferrum College News
President Spooner Holds First Ferrum Town Hall Meeting
by Patrick Duggan chapel and spiritual life. All other employees who President Joseph Spooner hosted Ferrum currently answer to the vice presidents of student College’s first town hall meeting on Thursday, affairs and academic affairs will be reassigned to Feb. 16 in Vaughan Chapel, where a smattering the dean of the college. This model is not a new of faculty and students asked questions about his concept; Spooner says his ideas are comparable vision for Ferrum’s future. Spooner hopes to hold to systems at schools such as Bard and Carlton town halls monthly to encourage discussion and colleges, both of which also feature a dean of transparency between himself and the rest of the Ferrum community. “We don’t have a set agenda for what this is supposed to be, except that we come together and share ideas in a sacred place,” he said. “I very much want this community to know that I’m willing to stand in front of people and share ideas.” Most of the discussion was focused on a massive reformation of Ferrum’s administrative structure, which was first introduced to the faculty in an email several weeks before the meeting. The plan merges some administrative positions, does away with others, and creates several new ones. The changes are designed to tackle two overarching goals: Spooner plans to host monthly Ferrum town hall meetings. to “strengthen a culture of collaboration and cooperation” and achieve “long term college position. economic stability.” Spooner says both are Spooner said another major new position, the essential to boosting Ferrum’s recent economic vice president for strategic advancement, will be challenges, including low enrollment and missioned to “cultivate lifelong engagement with dwindling retention, which have led to hiring Ferrum College among our current and prospective freezes. His strategy is to strengthen collaborative students, our employees, our graduates, and the success on campus by emphasizing faculty- communities that we serve.” Its jurisdiction student engagement and uniting departmental covers four major categories: admissions and organization in an interwoven system. student recruitment, campus and community The current positions of vice president engagement, career development and alumni of academic affairs and vice president of affairs, and communications and marketing. The student affairs will be combined to create a school will be conducting national searches to new dean of the college, who will be joined fill both the dean of college and vice president of by five specialized assistant deans to “support strategic advancement positions. The new system and mentor the essential faculty and staff who will take effect on July 1 of this year. Spooner shape and influence the daily educational and said the plan is malleable and will change as new life experience” of Ferrum students: dean of the challenges and goals arise.“The culture of higherfaculty, dean of academic affairs, dean of student ed changes so fast that something you build today development and wellness, dean of residential may be ancient tomorrow,” Spooner said. “Our life and title IX coordinator, and the dean of the community needs the ability to adjust.”
In the email to faculty, Spooner wrote, “I am confident that these changes will allow all of us who are committed to realizing the mission of Ferrum College to work more effectively and more collaboratively with one another within a sustainable organizational structure.” He explained and expanded on that promise in the town hall meeting, specifying what he needed from the faculty to ensure the success of his new staff layout. “We all share an equal responsibility and value in our students’ success,” Spooner said. Promoting cooperation among various departments, he urged that faculty members work together for a common goal, rather than prioritizing their own departments and programs. “We need not be territorial, not be afraid to take care of our own,” he said. Addressing questions and concerns from town hall attendees, Spooner emphasized student engagement and understanding as a primary step in healing Ferrum’s enrollment and retention rates. “We must find relevance in all the work we do and realize that what is relevant to us isn’t always relevant to our students,” Spooner said. “How do we show value to students and their families? What makes [Ferrum College] a worthwhile investment? How can we create leadership that’s engaging to our students from the moment we first come into contact with them? We have to make sure that we look at the range of student activities and the way in which we engage them. It’s not that our students are unwell, it’s that the majority of them come from vulnerable backgrounds.” Spooner also expressed interest in highlighting and expanding Ferrum’s unique advantages in the market of higher-ed, advertising campus diversity, welcoming community-college transfers, and promoting Ferrum’s exceptional outdoor opportunities were all on his checklist. Be on the lookout for communications concerning the next town hall meeting, which will most likely be held sometime this month.
by AnnGardner Eubank Each Wednesday in the LEAP studio of the Stanley Library, there is an hour long information session on various topics from week to week. Most recently, Inquiring Minds showcased their information session, Around the World in 60 Minutes: Perspectives on Living in a Foreign Culture. The session was presented by a panel of four international students currently studying at Ferrum and two Ferrum students who previously spent time learning abroad. The students compared the differences between their country and the United States in regards to the people, education, and senses of humor, and also shared what they would miss the most when they head home. Photo couresy of Ferrum College Facebook page Niamh Sammon, 21, from Northern Ireland, Katya Semenova poses with the Ferrum College attends University in Belfast but came to Ferrum Panther Mascot.
to study business for a year. Sammon said, “Being thrust into the middle of nowhere was a big change.” She also mentioned that while it was not a big deal or a problem with her, she thought it was funny that at 21 old, she could not drink alcohol. She noted the legal drinking age in Ireland is 18, so she thought the small difference was a bit quirky. With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, Sammon also talked about the major differences in how the holiday is celebrated in the US. She said that while in Ireland it is a very big festivity with dancing and socializing, it is also a religious holiday and family oriented. She said it gives the Irish great pride to see how enthusiastic the United States is in general during the holiday. Katya, also called Kate, is a student from Russia studying education at Ferrum. She noticed Cont. on Page 4
Around The World In 60 Minutes With Inquiring Minds
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Mailroom Mascot: Mr. Dice Goes Postal by AnnGardner Eubank Mysterious, intriguing and soft; the famous post-office cat of Ferrum College has an untold story. Postmaster Kelly Creech is the proud owner of Mr. Dice, the fluffy post office assistant. Mr. Dice wound up in Creech’s care out of pure chance. “We rescued him from behind the dumpsters in May of 2015,” Creech said. “Dodger was trying to kill him.” Mr. Dice was rescued when he was just a baby. Since that fateful spring day, he has grown into the king of the post office. Mr. Dice gets his namesake from a former work study employee, Katie Dice. Creech first called the cat “blackie” due to his dark fur, but once she saw the similarities between him and Dice, she changed the name to resemble his personality twin. “I would call her [Katie Dice] my hemorrhoid,” Creech said. “Whenever I got up from my chair, she would sit in it. Whenever I got something to eat, she would get herself a fork and eat too. Whenever I sit down, he sits down next to me, and whenever I get something to eat, he begs
Photo by Camryn Holt
Mr. Dice was rescured from behind the dumpster in May 2015.
for some, too. He’s my new hemorrhoid." Creech still has a strong friendship with her former work study employee and speaks to her about once a week. Creech adores Mr. Dice and Mr. Dice adores her, but not all of the employees at the post office have the same feelings for the furry feline. Mr. Dice may great other pets with a swat, but Creech assures that Mr. Dice has never bitten or hurt anyone. He is displayed
throughout the post office with portraits, photos, and other cat memorabilia, making him feel like a king in his home away from home. Her words of advice for anyone picking up a package from the mail room who notices Mr. Dice is, “If you come to the window and see him, wait until someone working comes to you to pet him….he will attack!” Mr. Dice can be seen in the mailroom about five times a week.
Staff Writers, Photographers, and Other Contributors Co-Editors: Kaitlin Roeper, AnnGardner Eubank & Patrick Duggan Design Team: Kaitlin Roeper & Patrick Duggan Sports Editor: Graceanne Gershner Online Editor: Sarah Shuford Staff: CJ Reed, Bobbi Guire, Myles Francisco, Niamh Sammon, Tyler Van Allen,
Alumni Spotlight: Scott Long
By Paul Cohoon 2016 graduate Scott Long touched base with the Iron Blade about the new adventures of his post-graduate life. Long is a criminal justice major and has put his degree to good use since graduating. Long is now working at the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center working with adolescents that commit small crimes as well as serious crimes. Long says his degree was a key element for getting his new job. Long took away many key life lessons from Ferrum,. At Ferrum, I learned to balance my social life, studies, and work. This has helped me to multitask in my career. Ferrum taught me the importance of networking for the future and provided me with some amazing professors that I am still in contact with today.” Long said the one thing that he misses the most about Ferrum was all the friends he made and memories that he had.
Landscape Project Brings Change Over Spring Break
by AnnGardner Eubank Over Spring Break, the landscape of Ferrum College underwent some noticeable changes. A total of 81 white pine and 10 dying and decaying maple trees have been removed. This major project was put in place to ensure the safety of the college landscape and all those surrounding the campus. Last year, a tree behind Britt Hall unexpectedly fell and crushed a car. Earlier this year, a seemingly healthy large pine fell behind the Human Resource building, just barely missing the building and power lines. New trees planted will be planted to replenish the landscape. Vice President of Business and Finance Christopher Burnley said, “We decided to complete the project all at once in order to protect the campus, dramatically reduce the total project cost, and to be able to utilize capital funds for the project. Capital funds can only be used for large projects involving buildings or grounds, and cannot be used for normal operating needs like payroll, food service, or electricity.” Be on the lookout for yoshino cherry trees, crepe myrtles, red maples, and red oak trees growing around the campus over time.
Letters Policy and Publication Details:
Opinions expressed in The Iron Blade do not necessarily reflect those of Ferrum College administration, staff, faculty, or students. The Iron Blade is published every other week during the academic year at Ferrum College, Ferrum, Va. It is designed on Apple computers and printed at JS Printing in Montgomery, Ala. Material may be reprinted with the advisor’s written permission. To contact The Iron Blade, call 365-4304 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The crest on page one was designed by alumna Sandy Southard (’04) in 2005 and updated and colorized in 2009 by Glenn Thompson.
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Photo courtesy of Ferrum College
Britt Hall was just one of the building on campus that underwent changes but trees near the parking lot are what sparked the landscape change.
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SENIORS IN SPRING SPORTS
by Graceanne Gershner their upcoming games next month. Baseball, is working hard to make their way to the top. All Baseball, softball, men’s, and women’s softball, and men’s lacrosse are all returning from four teams are looking to come back and better lacrosse are all in season and getting ready for championship seasons, while women’s lacrosse than ever.
Baseball - Dillon Weaver
Right-handed pitcher Dillon Weaver talked about what it was like being on a title-winning team. He said, “Anytime a team wins a title it is great. The feeling that you get when you realize all the hard work you put in finally pays off is amazing.” He spoke highly of his team saying, “Being a part of a team with that kind of energy and teamwork that you need to win titles is truly unbelievable.” Coming back from a ring winning season, Weaver noted how preseason and fall practices are vital. He said in the fall they would have two practices a day, the first would be fundamentals and the second would be a scrimmage against each other. On top of the practices, the team would lift three times a week. He said, “Our coaches do a very good job at making sure that we are in the best baseball shape when season rolls around. The effort that you put in preseason is just as important as effort during the season.” This season, baseball fans can expect to see some old and some new faces on the field. Weaver said, “We have a good combination of both young and experienced talent this year which will mesh well and allow Ferrum Baseball to stay competitive.” Weaver said their goal as a team is winning a national championship. “The talent and team chemistry we have this year could very well get us there,” Weaver said.
Women’s Lacrosse – Kenzie Truini
Senior attackman and defender, Kenzie Truini, spent the last season with her team rebuilding. The team lost twelve players after their 2015 season, but Truini remained positive. “After losing so many seniors in one year, our focus changed to improving players and teaching others how to love the sport,” Truini said. Losing people may have even benefited some of the returning players on the team. “Teaching others not only helped our new players, but helped the returners focus on the fundamentals to correct their skills as well and helped them become better players.” Three weeks into practice, Truini said that the team is looking strong. “With a team of 16 girls that are such energetic and hardworking individuals, we are ready to play and give our all,” Truini said. Truini said that people who watch will see improvement from last year. “They will see better skills in individual work and improvement in skills as a team. They will see how we play together, working off of one another to accomplish our goals,” Truini said.
Men’s Tennis – Garrett Freese
Senior tennis player Garrett Freese, gave a quick summary of the fall season for the team. He said, “The fall season was a quick one for us this year. We had a tournament in the beginning of the year.” He said sophomore, Caleb Bellamy, won his bracket and the team was able to finish the fall with at least one win. This year on the court Freese said we can expect to see some excitement. “Tennis is a sport where etiquette is important but we always try to bring that Ferrum sports culture to it as much as possible. We like to let our shots speak for themselves, but at the same time specators are always happy to let the other team know what’s up.”
Softball – Amber Coffin
Men’s Lacrosse – Ryan Tessler
Women’s Tennis – Billie Quesenberry
Senior tennis captain, Billie Quesenberry, explained what it was like building their team from the bottom up. “In the fall we had a lot of new players who had little experience playing tennis before. We had a lot of heart, but little experience.” Quesenberry said, “This season we have a strong team. Our goal is to make it to the conference tournament. We started the season strong and we’ve been putting in a lot of hard work. We still have a long way to go, but we’re going to get there. All of our players have really improved since day one, and we’re working on improving each and every practice. We are all so hype for this season!”
Senior and 2016 VaSID All-State Team winner, Ryan Tessler, is excited about being on a conference championship team two years in a row. He said, “Being able to win back to back titles is a hell of an experience. Winning one was crazy enough, but two is something else, especially with the group of guy we have; it was special.” “Preparing for games this year, we are holding ourselves to even higher expectations as a team and as individuals. We know we have a target on our back this year and that means that we have to work that much harder if we want another championship,” Tessler said. Fans can expect to see the same, if not a better team this year. Tessler said, “We feel like we have a great team this year again and people can expect to see some good lacrosse out there this year.”
Sole senior and 2016 all-tournament honoree, Amber Coffin, described what it was like winning the conference championship last season. She said, “Winning the conference tournament and going to regionals last year was awesome. We had a great group of girls and it was exciting to see everything come together,” Coffin explained that the team lost the first game of the tournament, but after that they pulled together to win it all. In regards to the upcoming season, Coffin said, “This season we’ve really been focusing on mechanics. We want to make sure that when we are hitting, pitching, and fielding, we are doing it the right way.” Coffin is confident with the capabilities of the team this year. “We lost a lot of upperclassmen, but have a good underclass that is stepping up and is ready to fill the positions. We have a different dynamic and team chemistry that I think will help us out on and off the field.”
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Fashion At Ferrum College: Not All Of It Is Terrible
by Myles Francisco Ferrum College could potentially be the place where fashion comes to die. While some students use fashion as creative ways to express their emotions, others would not think twice about the clothes they put on to cover up their bodies. The students here at Ferrum College have different ideas of what fashion means to them. Some might say women are more fashion-conscious than men. English professor and academic advisor, Beth Dantonio believes "Men are just as fashionconscious as women"; meanwhile, both genders make certain styling choices that might not cut it in "the real world." First, ladies, please explain leggings. What are they for? Freshman Samantha Kosher, stated "Leggings are for the lazy days." Leggings are worn by both genders for exercise purposes, but ever since leggings became an everyday thing, I can’t leave my room without seeing at least one pair of leggings these days. Secondly, gentlemen, please
even my underwear matches my outfit’”. Most students haven't the slightest clue as to how to dress themselves. Wearing shorts in the freezing cold and flip flops in the pouring rain. There are only a handful of students who have great taste in fashion. For example, Sophomore Shakoya Duncan stated, "I mostly just wear solid color clothing and my go-to colors consist of black and grey.” We should all take fashion advice from her. A couple of my favorite fashion trends include a pair of jeans paired with an oversized sweater alongside a pair of black boots when it’s cold outside. For both the ladies and the men, a pair of white socks and shoes tastefully matched with any color of Senior T.J. Olmo takes pride in his cargo shorts and a simple solid color fashion and the outfits he wears. t-shirt can top everything off. explain why your pants still sag, Junior Alexis Hatcher and allowing a clear visual of your Senior Ta’Jon Olmo both take underpants? Wasn't that trend finished pride in their fashion. “Fashion after Usher? Sophomore Stacy Huff is an expression of my heart and stated, "I wouldn't call sagging your the physical representation of my pants a fashion statement, unless the outgoing and warm soul,” Hatcher statement is ‘I am so fashionable said. She also mentioned how
Photos by Myles Francisco
Junior Alexis Hatcher shows her style.
fashion is like a “touch of freedom and being in tune with one’s self”. Ta’Jon said, “Fashion expresses personality. Through fashion you’re able to show how passionate you are about the clothes and the outfits you put together.”
Around The World In 60 Minutes With Inquiring Minds
Cont. From page 1
that one of the biggest differences between the US and Russia were the educators. Katya said that the teachers and professors in the US seem so much more happy and easygoing, while in Russia, they can often be a bit more strict and regulated. Katya was pleasantly surprised upon her arrival to the states. She said, “I didn’t expect people to be so nice to me! People here are so generous, so chatty, and so smiley.” Katya also mentioned how she enjoyed the campus here at Ferrum. She said that at her university in Pskov, Russia, there were large buildings designated for different majors, so there wasn’t much movement from one building to another, as it is at Ferrum. Wonjun Lee, also known as “Jay,” is from South Korea and studies biology in Seoul, the capital of South Korea. He said he is frequently asked about the tensions between North and South Korea. He said unless someone lives very close to the border, it doesn’t affect the average person's day to day life. Lee said the most noticeable difference, besides the difference in population, was the climate. He said that the air pollution in South Korea is really strong and there aren’t sunny days and blue skies like there are at Ferrum. Lee said he chose to attend Ferrum because “it’s quiet, peaceful and personal.” Pedro Tejos Salgado, a student from Santiago, Chile, noticed several differences between Ferrum and his homeland. He said that his college in Santiago didn’t have dorms and that everyone would commute. Pedro also noted the difference between the classes. He said in Santiago, they only have a couple of major tests or exams throughout the year without any homework or small assignments like at Ferrum. Unlike Ferrum, his college in Santiago wasn’t really like a typical college campus, but just several different buildings scattered throughout part of the city.
Pedro said one of the major differences he found immersed in the country. She said she learned between the United States and Chile overall was a lot about the Russian language in her science the amount of 24 hour services in the US. He said classes. “I had two professors who seemed really at night, everything was closed down and people excited to have me. They were excited to have an American learning science in Russia. That was just go home. Senior Tristan Ousterhout and Michelle basically unheard of to them,” she said. While each student said studying abroad was Ecklund are both Ferrum College students who spent time abroad. Tristan, who spent some time an enjoyable and great experience for them, Niamh last Summer in Ireland, noticed a difference said coming to the United States has helped her between students there in comparison to some confidence tremendously. While she has enjoyed students at Ferrum. “You could see how proud the her time in the US and plans to come back for students were to be there, which can be different graduate school, she also said how being away has really helped her appreciate her homeland. from here at Ferrum,” Ousterhout said. Along with the pride for their schooling, he “When you study abroad, you can come home and also noted their overall pride for their land and really appreciate where you’re from,” she said. their overall country, saying, “They care about Katya agreed, saying, “I’ve realized I’m really literally everything. It’s so clean. There was never proud to be from my country.” Wonjun Lee left any trash and everything was always picked up everyone with words of encouragement saying, “Visit all of Asia, and not just South Korea. The after. They just seem to care more.” Ecklund, who spent a semester in Pskov, Asian culture is so different and it would leave a Russia, said one of the major differences she saw really nice memory for anyone.” Inquiring Minds takes place every Wednesday was the organization of the classes. She said that their class schedules and class locations would from 4 to 5 p.m. in the LEAP studio of the Stanley change on a week-to-week basis due to professors Library. often cancelling and moving classes, so no week was ever the by Graceanne Gershner same as the last. Ferrum sorority Theta Gamma Omega (OGO) brought the Pulsera In regards to the climate, Ecklund Project to campus this semester. “Pulsera” in Spanish means bracelet, but compared winter in the sisters weren’t just selling us regular bracelets. The Pulsera Project is a Russia by saying, nonprofit organization that links up with schools in the United States, where “Winter there was like students help sell these handwoven pulseras. The accessories are made by a severe winter here, artists in Nicaragua and Guatemala. This provides fair trade opportunities and when it got hot... for over 150 artists. The sales from the United States go back to Central it got hot.” While she America to fund community empowerment programs. OGO collectively raised about 500 dollars for the program! Senior had studied Russian for six years prior to Kayla McMillan said, “I think the Pulsera Project is a really cool concept. her journey in Russia, The bracelets are beautiful and it all goes toward a really great cause. I was she said she learned a more than happy to be a part of something that has such a great impact on lot more while being other people.”
Local Sorority Helps Pulsara Project