The Signal Urbanite | Vol. 2 No. 1

Page 1


VOL. 2 | NO. 1

from the independent student newspaper MEET YO UR MEN IN BLUE As men’s basketball enters a new era spearheaded by head coach Rob Lanier, expectations aim higher.


Craving an expensive seafood buffet, an omelet bar or hot wings? Check out this guide for more details.

AN EVER - CHA N GIN G U N I VER SITY High-level faculty departures and real estate developments chart a new future for Georgia State.

SUMMER 2019 | 1




News A University in Transition


Arts & Living Student Groupchats for Everything You Need


Sports Men in Blue

Cover Photo Illustration by Unique Rodriguez SUMMER 2019 | 3 Photo by Doris Amouzou

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Daniel Varitek

Letter from the Editor

Editorial NEWS EDITOR Will Solomons






Production PRODUCTION EDITOR Devin Phillips


Digital VIDEO EDITOR Julian Pineda associate vIDEO EDITOR Jaye DePrince PODCAST EDITOR Caleb P. Smith Marketing MARKETING MANAGER Taylor Dudley

advisers STUDENT MEDIA ADVISeR Bryce McNeil




The Signal shall provide, in a fair and accurate manner, news of interest and significance to the Georgia State University community and serve as a forum for the expression of ideas of members of that community. Furthermore, The Signal shall provide an opportunity for students to pursue experience within a professional newspaper environment. The Signal shall also provide truthful and ethical advertising of interest to the Georgia State University community.


The deadline for all advertising is 5 p.m. on the Tuesday prior to the desired issue of publication. Ads must be print-ready and in PDF format; files must be delivered via e-mail at signaladvertisingco@ Please visit our website at www. for more information, including rates and payment methods.


Requests for coverage and tips should be submitted to the Editor in Chief and/or the relevant section editor.

DISCLAIMER The first copy of _The Urbanite_ is free. Additional copies can be purchased for $1.25 in our office


The Signal Student Center West, Suite 250 P.O. Box 3968 Atlanta, GA 30303 Phone: 404-413-1620 Fax: 404-413-1622 Web:


Do you know how to swim? I learned at a summer camp in elementary school. We woke at the crack of dawn and marched down to the lake as we shivered with our towels in hand. The orange sun was barely piercing through the trees, illuminating the steam that rolled and curled off the water. It was picturesque, and all I could think was, I don’t want to get in that water. As my friends dipped, waded and jumped into the lake one by one, I sat off to the side, equally terrified of the temperature and the mysterious absence of flotation devices. The minutes went by, and my friends began calling out, “It’s not that bad!” They seemed to be really having fun. I had a choice to make: remain frozen in fear and lose out on new experiences, friendships and fun, or jump in and paddle through the pain. I faced the same dilemma three summers ago, sitting shotgun in my mom’s ‘98 Jeep Cherokee as we drove into Atlanta. I remember squeezing my eyes shut, trying to visualize what college would look like. All I got in return was dizziness and stars. In that moment, it reminded me a lot of swimming. I again was faced with a decision — albeit one much more important — between sticking with my comfort zone and jumping into something new. You can guess which option I chose. So, I pinched my nose, closed my eyes and plunged into the freezing cold water that was my college experience. It’s exactly what you’re doing now. The more you paddle through frigid water, the warmer it gets. And as your body acclimates, the less you think about how cold it is and the more you focus on your destination. College is the same way. My first plunge was moving in. Who are my roommates? Where do I buy groceries? What happens if I don’t fit in? My second plunge was going to classes. Where do I sit? Should I ever raise my hand? What if I sound stupid?

I could go on and on — finding a job, making more friends, dating, acing a class, failing a class, joining a fraternity, leading a newspaper — but here’s the point: College isn’t just a series of plunges. Life is. We can’t always control what plunges we face and how hard they hit us. But we can control how we react to them and how we overcome them. This magazine is intended to help with that. These pages outline what challenges you can expect at Georgia State, so that perhaps you find it a little easier reacting to and overcoming them. Here’s a final piece of advice: You are your own best advocate. No one will ever stand up for you like you can, so you must do it yourself and do it often. It’s not a bad thing by any means. Your dad can’t always be fighting alongside you, nor can your favorite professor, your mentor or your significant other. But you will be there every step of the way, forging a path and building a future that you can be proud of. Fight and advocate for yourself on every step of your college journey. Take risks, try new things and don’t be afraid to fail. It’s the only way to get good at this thing called life. I also implore you to read The Signal once the school year picks up. If you believe that knowledge is power, our independent student newspaper is your best source. We advocate for you and your student perspective, which means The Signal is a valuable tool for a new freshman. Good luck on your journey, and don’t forget to swim. Until next time, Daniel Varitek Editor-in-Chief, ’18-’20




Dining Hall Rubric


A University in Transition


Men in Blue




6 University in Transition

24 Student Groups

38 Men in Blue

10 Campus construction

29 Dining hall rubric

42 Free sports tickets

11 What is an FLC?

30 Broad Street dining

43 Panther recruiting

13 Understanding SGA

32 Hidden gems

45 Esports

14 The CMII

33 Alternative jobs

46 Game attendance

18 Greek life at Georgia State

34 Traffic at Georgia State

40 Intramural sports

20 University services

36 On-campus jobs

50 Georgia State Football SUMMER 2019 | 5

A University in Tr



SUMMER 2019 | 7 Photos by Unique Rodriguez







Georgia State’s key faculty and administration.

How the university is changing administration and policy A

s the university gears up for the 2019-20 academic year, it moves toward its ever-present goal of improved education and expanded opportunities, offered to the more than 50,000 students that attend Georgia State. During the past academic year, the university underwent several transitions that, although they may not be at the forefront of students’ minds, usher in new policies and standards for the largest university in Georgia. These range anywhere from an increase in national rankings to administrative changes and new goals for the upcoming year. As Georgia State has raised its national profile in the past decade, its rankings have been moved to the forefront of its advertising initiatives. Three rankings have been key: No. 2 most innovative university in the nation, No. 1 most militaryfriendly university in the nation and No. 1 public university for the number of degrees conferred to African-American students. Last year, Georgia State turned heads after being named the No. 4 most innovative university by U.S. News and World Report. It has since climbed the ladder again to No. 2, in part because of initiatives that focus on better integration of classroom technology and a more robust attention to student analytics by the administration. However, changes in the university weren’t just reflected by academic initiatives. The makeup of the senior administration has also undergone substantial changes. One of the first administrative changes of the year came with Douglass Covey’s departure, the vice president of student affairs since 2006. He has since been replaced by Allison CalhounBrown, who is serving as the interim vice president. When Covey left in January of 2019, he didn’t completely depart the university. He instead moved down to a faculty position in the College of Education and Human Development. In a letter to students, Georgia State University President Mark Becker said Covey “made major contributions to the success of students, leading initiatives that have improved student services and introducing programs that have greatly enhanced the student experience.” Covey wasn’t the only faculty who left his position this year. The Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Risa Palm also stepped down at the end of the 2019-20 academic year, having announced her transition in November of 2018. One of her primary responsibilities was to help establish a strategic plan that essentially outlines how the university will continue to change over several years. “When I first got here, it was the first year that Mark Becker was president,” she said. “We put together a committee … and I Illustrations & Page Design by Devin Phillips

worked with that committee … over the next [year]. The committee did all the work. I just was there as sort of a resource, but I attended all their meetings and provided them with any kind of support they needed and also got them in touch with some academics that I had known that were involved in strategic planning,” Palm told The Signal in early January. The “strategic planning” she referred to precedes the construction and development strategic plan, identifying the academic needs of the university and then developing a facilities construction plan to meet those needs. Facilities’ plans that came to fruition this year include the demolition and reconstruction of the Courtland Street bridge, a project that spanned from the end of the spring 2018 semester to the middle of the fall 2018 semester. The School of Nursing also built and moved in to new facilities in the basement of Student Center West at the end of the fall semester. Another college that has moved offices is the J. Mack Robinson College of Business, which is in the process of moving to 55 Park Place. To replace Palm, the university conducted candidate presentations at the end of the spring 2019 semester, which publicly invited students and faculty to meet the three candidates shortlisted by the search committee. Since then, the university appointed Wendy Hensel, who was the dean and a professor for the College of Law as interim provost. As the new year begins and thousands of students join the Panther family, President Becker outlined his view of Georgia State

and its future in his State of the University address, delivered on April 25. Among remarks about the university’s rankings and faculty achievements, he mentioned that the university will be expanding its scientific impact. “As we continue to grow our biomedical research portfolio, we’re building much-needed state-of-the-art facilities for scientists to conduct their groundbreaking work,” Becker said. “The third phase of our Science Park will soon allow us to expand the university’s research footprint with an infectious disease research building that will join the Petit Science center and the Research Science on our downtown Atlanta campus. Having modern facilities for our faculty is critical to our future.” That expansion goes hand-in-hand with the popular motif the university adopts that technological expansion and innovation is key to Georgia State’s continued success. “As science and technology to continue to reshape our world, investments in spaces like the Creative Media Industries Institute and our Science Park will enhance the university’s reputation and our future,” Becker said. Aside from technology, he addressed Georgia State’s impact in Atlanta and the role it plays as a member of the community, mentioning how construction and usage of new facilities will help to attract businesses to areas of economic drought. “Georgia State continues to be an indispensable catalyst for the revitalization of downtown Atlanta,” he said.

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eorgia State’s Atlanta campus will be radically redesigned in the school year to come. As part of the 2012 Master Plan – the long-term overhaul and redesign to Georgia State’s real estate – projects are slated to renovate Library Plaza, demolish Kell Hall and rebuild the entrance to Library North. Over the summer, students will find the heart of the campus replaced with bulldozers, cranes and the sweet sound of construction. This is in anticipation of a transformation from the existing ‘70s-era vaulted concrete plaza to a street-level, tree-shaded greenway nested between the campus’ central classroom buildings. The first step in this project is the complete demise of Kell Hall. The building, which is almost 100 years old, was purchased by the university in the ‘40s and is infamous for its winding and confusing ramp ways that still remain from when it was once the first parking deck in Atlanta. Leveling Kell Hall came with three main roadblocks: an environmental effects report, Governor Brian Kemp’s executive approval and a historical survey – all of which have now been completed. The process of vacating Kell Hall and removing the asbestos in it began in the spring semester of 2019 and will be complete by mid-May 2019, according to Vice President for Facilities Management Services Division Ramesh Vakamudi. The current tentative start date for the exterior demolition of Kell Hall is May 20, a process Vakamudi said could take two to three months to complete. Once Kell Hall is gone, the space it leaves behind will ultimately be filled with greenery as part of the larger greenway project. But one building’s

demolition isn’t the only subject of this project – the majority of Library Plaza will also be flattened and lowered to street level. Despite previous university projections that demolition could begin in February or March 2019, until the last week of the spring semester, the plaza remained untouched. According to Vakamudi, the delay was due to a budget modification, as the project had doubled in cost from $5 million to just under $10 million. As the project begins, it will be divided into two phases: Phase One will replace the plaza with a greenway, and Phase Two will create a stairway entrance to Library North from the newly lowered greenway. Dean of Libraries Jeff Steely said that these additions will serve two purposes. The first is an obvious need for a new entrance to the library. The second is what he calls the true priority: the creation of more space for students to use. The university was granted $5 million dollars by the Georgia Legislature in the 2018 session for the redeveloped entrance, but Steely isn’t sure just how much this will fund. “The university has received direction from the Board of Regents staff that the project scope needs to be limited to the [$5 million] allocation,” Steely said. “In today’s market, that will not go very far.” But how will students get around campus amid all this construction? During Phase One, Steely said, students will be able to access the library through a strip of Library Plaza. As for Phase Two, no plan for access has been made, but it may be released once a design has been finalized.


MAY 2019


JULY Demolish Kell Hall, lower Library Plaza and construct a new green way to replace them both.






JAN. 2020

Design and construction documents completed Construction ends

Project bid


Award contract


Construction begins




Construct a new entrance to Library North.





Kell Hall and Library Plaza construction begins

Construction ends



he university encourages first-year students to participate in programs called Freshman Learning Communities, or FLCs. While students are not required to join FLCs, the university prioritizes them and around 80% of freshmen are part of one.


The FLC program groups students together by major and places them all in the same classes. While you may not have every class with exactly the same people, because FLCs can be large, expect to see many of the same faces. Students can be placed into FLCs centered on seven different “meta majors:” business, policy and social science, education, humanities and arts, STEM and health. But FLCs aren’t that different from each other after accounting for obvious differences in academic content. They all deliver a similar combination of general education courses and major courses coupled with GSU 1010 – which is a noncredit orientation class that introduces Georgia State resources to freshmen. Senior Vice President of Student Success Timothy Renick claims that the programs assist in the transition from high school to college in both social and academic aspects. “National studies show that many students feel that they don’t belong,” Renick said. “At a large university such as Georgia State, new freshmen can take five or six courses during their first semester and never see the same students twice in any class. The learning community model helps students build up a support system from the start

Illustrations by Amber Kirlew

of their college careers. By seeing the same students in their classes, freshmen can more readily find study partners, locate someone to get the notes from, and develop a cohort of friends.” The data collected on FLCs back up his claims. “During Fall 2018, students in learning communities had higher GPAs, attempted more credit hours, passed more credit hours, and had higher retention rates than students who were not in learning communities,” Renick said. Renick said FLCs on Atlanta and Perimeter campuses were equally successful in this regard. Students in FLCs typically earn 1.5 more credit hours per semester than those not, according to Renick. However, while the numbers may wholeheartedly support the program, the person-to-person experience within the program still varies. Some students feel like it makes the registration process easier for freshmen, helping them meet new people and perform better in classes. “I was in an FLC freshman year,” Jessica Louis, a rising junior, said. “There I met two of my best friends. So, that was pretty cool.

It just made getting to know people easier, and then everyone was helping each other out because we had every class together. So, the classes were more engaging because we could have actual conversation. For the first year, the FLC program had positive effects on my social and academic success.” But, not everyone feels that way. There are also students who feel the FLC program is a waste of time, and that it requires freshmen to take classes not specifically important to their majors. “[The FLC] was a very mixed bag for me only because it didn’t really have what I needed,” Ryan King, a rising sophomore, said. “My FLC was literally just three philosophies, a theatre class and something else – all of which I didn’t really need. So, it was a pain. I had to, literally, almost fight with the advisement person just to get a math class in so I could start getting my basic classes over with.” Georgia State is by and large improving the transition from high school to college with the FLC program. On a personalized basis, that sometimes might not be true. Flip to Page X to learn how to be your own advocate and navigate the university’s three most important departments.

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n M e p i O igh c RIALTO




Singers, dancers, musicians, spoken word artists, magicians — you’ll have 10 minutes to wow the crowd for a chance to compete in the OPEN MIC FINALE ON JULY 23 . e finale winner will receive a Rialto Feed Your Senses Performance booking!


Rialto open mic competitions will be held EVERY TUESDAY THROUGH JULY 23. Please sign up beginning the Wednesday before to guarantee your spot. FREE and OPEN to Georgia State students

and grad students.

Understanding the



hrough the Student Government Association, students have the unique opportunity to have a voice in university policies and student fees. This peer-led representative body prioritizes fellow students’ concerns. In early May, the 90th administration was inaugurated, ushering in a new era for SGA.

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From left to right, SGA Universitywide President Jazmin Mejia, SGA Senator McKenzie Tooke, Atlanta campus EVP Hamza Raman, SGA Senator Audrey Abraham, SGA Senator Danielle Ellington-Myles and Atlanta Speaker of the Senate Kaelen Thomas.


How it’s organized and what it can do for students The SGA at Georgia State is broken into two main collaborative chambers: university-wide and campus-specific senates. Because Georgia State has six campuses, the Atlanta campus and the five Perimeter campuses, there’s a need to organize a Senate in each location. Accordingly, each campus maintains its own Senate with senators, a speaker of the senate and an executive vice president (or EVP). On the Atlanta campus, Senate seats are allocated based on the number of students enrolled on that campus at each particular college, like the College of Arts and Sciences or the J. Mack Robinson College of Business. On each of the Perimeter campuses, six Senate seats are open to any student. Just because a senator is a representative of their campus Senate does not guarantee them a seat on the University-wide Senate. All senators’ main responsibilities are to present policy, sit on issuespecific committees and engage student constituents. When introducing policy in a Senate, there are two main options: legislation, which allows SGA to modify their operations or cause change on the university level, and a resolution, which is essentially an opinion piece that encourages but does not necessarily enforce a change at Georgia State.

The speaker of the senate oversees all senators, provides guidance when necessary and conducts and organizes campus-specific Senate meetings. Atlanta Speaker: Kaelen Thomas Decatur Speaker: De’Mona Reid Dunwoody Speaker: Chinenye Jonathan The EVP is effectively the student political leader for their campus. They report directly to, and work alongside, the university-wide president. The Atlanta campus EVP plays a special role as they are the co-chair of two councils that shape where some of your student fees are allocated: the Mandatory Fee Council, which determines where mandatory fees (like parking) are spent, and the Student Activity Fee Council, which is responsible for allocating student activity fees to student organizations. Atlanta EVP: Hamza Rahman Alpharetta EVP: Chase Ritterbusch Clarkston EVP: Naija Henry

policy. They guide the administration in the direction they see fit and serve as an organizing leader toward that administration’s goals. University-wide President: Jazmin Mejia Students have a unique opportunity to work alongside their elected SGA representatives to affect real change at the university. If a student has any concerns with a department or wants to develop an initiative, they can gain an audience with the Senate at their regular meetings. For a student trying to reach SGA, the best point of contact is their respective EVP – not the president. Freshmen wishing to become involved in SGA can also serve as freshmen liaisons, acting as the correspondent between their fellow peers and the Senate they serve in. Because SGA representatives also sit on university-level committees, they are often direct lines of communication for students to faculty and senior administration.

When the SGA convenes for the University-wide Senate, the role of the speaker is passed on to the university-wide president, who presides over all Universitywide Senate assemblies. This officer has the most power to affect SGA and university

Photos bySUMMER Unique Rodriguez 2019 | 15

“Students come to Georgia State and think that we’re no Georgia Tech or M.I.T., but they don’t realize that we have bleeding- edge technology that is really exciting,” - Joel Mack a student administrator at the CMII


Photos by Clara-Ann Hammel & Matt Siciliano-Salazar Page Design by Devin Phillips

The Creative Media Industries Institute



he Creative Media Industries Institute sits beside the 25 Park Place tower and is recognizable by the massive wrap-around JumboTron that hangs in the lobby. On every floor, the CMII building houses high-end and sometimes surreal technology that is easily accessible to all Georgia State students. “The core [virtual reality] studio is on the first floor behind the JumboTron and is outfitted with $5 million worth of performance capture technology,” David Cheshier, director of the CMII, said. This technology allows students to learn how to create full 360-degree, high-resolution avatars of themselves. “This is volumetric tech, the most realistic form of motion capture technology,” Joel Mack, a student administrator at the CMII, said. Chloe Scott is a student assistant who helps keep the VR demo room open throughout the week for curious students. She said the best time to check out the tech is on Fridays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The studio is also available to students in a two-credit-hour course that meets on Fridays. The class is available to all students as an elective, regardless of that student’s major. It’s titled CMIS 4350, Advanced Media Technology Practicum, and requires no prerequisites. The course will teach the practical knowledge of using the technology. Students in the course work with production companies and advertising agencies in creating new content using the tech. “No specialized knowledge is necessary,” Cheshier said. There are also less formal ways of being involved with the CMII. The esports initiative is operated within the CMII and tryouts are held in the building. However, students who may be interested in gaming but don’t want to compete have other options for getting

involved, too. “Workshops are offered on how to broadcast on Twitch, how to manage esports tournaments and how to be an esports coach,” Cheshier said. On the second floor, students can find the 3D printing makerspace. Over the summer, how-to workshops are available to students. The most recent workshops discussed movie prop making and 3D printing animation prototypes. According to Cheshier, his goal for the fall semester is to maintain a group of trained undergraduate students to keep the workspace available for walk-in students. For students wanting to start a mediarelated company, the second floor also holds what the CMII calls the media incubator, with access to workspace and gear to help entrepreneurs jumpstart their new businesses. There is an application process for students who would like to have their company incubated by the CMII. Across from the makerspace is an equipment checkout desk that offers VR headsets, laptops, camera kits and more. Students are given access to this gear if they have a project that requires it. They can email the CMII in order to seek approval for the technology. “Students come to Georgia State and think that we’re no Georgia Tech or M.I.T., but they don’t realize that we have bleeding-edge technology that is really exciting,” Mack said. Just as career services offer workshops on resume writing and portfolio building, the CMII runs versions of these for students entering the film, music, game design or esports industries. “Take a class, they’re really interesting in terms of media careers, but in general, just come in and start exploring,” Scott said. Cheshier described the CMII as “a supplement to the existing arts and media programs that connects students to advanced technology and media entrepreneurial training.”

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What What Greek Greek Life Life looks looks like like at at Georgia Georgia State State WRITTEN BY DANIELLA JOHNSON | STAFF REPORTER


eorgia State is home to many Greek organizations, with a sorority or fraternity for nearly everyone to join. The university currently boasts 34 organization chapters that fall under four councils: the Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Council, National Panhellenic Council and Multicultural Greek Council. The Interfraternity Council (sometimes “IFC,” for short) is made up of non-culturally-based male fraternities. The Panhellenic Council (PHC) consists of non-culturally-based female sororities. In contrast, the National Panhellenic Council (NPHC) and the Multicultural Greek Councils (MCGC) are all culturebased. The National Panhellenic Council, better known as the “Divine Nine,” are the historically black organizations that focus on empowering black students. Both male and female organizations are present. Similarly, the Multicultural Greek Council has both male and female organizations, but members typically come from more culturally diverse backgrounds. Similarities and differences aside, it doesn’t matter what cultural or ethnic background a student comes from; every Greek organization is open to all students. “The biggest piece to remember though is that for the ones that are based in either some sort of a culture … you do want to have an appreciation of those cultures to really kind of fit the way that those groups realize their mission,” Jeff Benson, assistant director for Leadership Programs and faculty adviser for the IFC and NPHC, said. The transition from high school to college can be a daunting task. Maya Brown-Laws, a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc., recommends that students wait until they’re at least a sophomore to join


Greek life, and that they do their research on the many organizations. But Katherine Flores, a member of the Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity, thinks joining as a freshman – when classes are easiest – is best. “It gives you a sense of community … depending on if you’re from here or not, that could make or break your experience in college, but also be aware of how time consuming it would be. As long as you know what you’re getting into and if that’s what you want, then go for it,” Georgia State student Troi Allen said. There are many common misconceptions when thinking of Greek life, like those based on clichés and movie tropes. Outside of partying, strolling and performing, Greek organizations are often heavily involved in community service and require high academic standards for their members. “[A common misconception] is that it’s easy,” BrownLaws said. “It’s far from it. Everybody in Greek life is extremely involved and they don’t believe in sleeping. It’s far from just strolling.” Another common misconception about Greek life is that there’s an abundance of hazing. However, Georgia State takes the necessary precautions and provides the necessary consequences to help prevent any hazing instances that may take place. “[I thought] that it was just a bunch of popular people who hazed [other] people to join,” Flores said. Many members advise students who want to join Greek life to keep their grades up and get involved with something that aligns with their values, not because it’s popular. “Be involved in something you actually want to be involved in, be authentically you,” Brown-Laws said.

THE RECRUITMENT PROCESS FOR EACH GREEK COUNCIL Intake and recruitment varies among each of the councils. Some councils have more discrete, secretive processes while others are more formal and specific in their selection.

THE INTERFRATERNITY COUNCIL This recruitment process is more secretive and encourages students to find which group fits them best. After a few weeks of recruiting, the fraternities extend bids to prospective members.

THE NATIONAL PANHELLENIC COUNCIL This process is also discrete, looking for members that do their own research. Before intake, prospective members must post a flyer outside of the Greek Life office in Student Center West two weeks prior to their official interest meeting, where applications guide students through the process of joining.

THE PANHELLENIC COUNCIL Students are required to sign up online over the summer and then experience a short recruitment period where all interested members meet each of the five different groups in separate rounds. After each round, the organization and prospective members rate each other based on interest. At the end of the process, the Greek staff match potential members with the organization they think is the best fit.

THE MULTICULTURAL GREEK COUNCIL For this council there is a hybrid of open recruitment and a more discrete process. Events are held, similar to the other councils, with interest meetings and an application process. However, they are more secretive when choosing their intake class until they are unveiled at the end of the process.

Photos by Unique Rodriguez & Page Design by Devin Phillips

SUMMER 2019 | 19


eorgia State is officially the largest university in Georgia. This behemoth of a school has revitalized Downtown Atlanta, made history and risen to the top of national rankings. But despite Georgia State’s award-winning innovation, students oftentimes still get stuck with not-so-glamorous problems, like ensuring a scholarship posts on PAWS, or scheduling a oneon-one with a counselor. Here’s an introductory guide to navigating Georgia State’s most three most important departments: Advisement, Financial Aid and Counseling.



Some Georgia State students don’t hesitate when it comes to expressing dissatisfaction regarding the advisement center, especially after receiving inconsistent advice from different advisers or being frequently assigned a new adviser. In a previous article, The Signal found that the number of available advisers isn’t a problem. At one adviser per 239 students, Georgia State is actually above the national standard of one adviser per 300 students. To avoid the mayhem many students gripe about, the advisement center recommends students stop scheduling walk-in appointments. With walk-ins, students aren’t guaranteed to see their assigned adviser and their time is cut shorter, too. Instead, it’s better to send an email and set up an appointment. (Students are assigned an adviser at the start of the year via their student email.) One way to get better advice is to take advantage of Georgia State’s predictive analytics program: GPS advising. The advisement center already tracks and monitors hundreds of potential data points on each student and uses this to predict each student’s risk for graduating. Students can request to look at their Navigate screen, which will show the data system Georgia State uses, during an appointment. Students can visit academic advisement on the fourth and fifth floors of 25 Park Place. Honors College students are also assigned additional advisers at Centennial Hall.


While the Office of Financial Aid may have its own difficulties, including its management a massive influx of students, there are a few steps


students can take to proactively prepare to pay for their tuition and expenses while at Georgia State. First and foremost, every student should fill out their FAFSA online and by the deadline for their desired school year, outlined on the FAFSA website. Through FAFSA, students may be eligible to receive the Pell Grant based on their parents’ income. Summer semesters are Pell Grant-eligible as well – so long as a student is enrolled in at least 12 credit hours in the fall and spring semesters and at least six credit hours in the summer. The Office of Financial Aid is located on the second floor of Sparks Hall. For students in need, there are resources at Georgia State that can help get them through the semester. One is the Panther’s Pantry, which provides free groceries for anyone with a student ID and is located inside Parking Deck B underneath the Urban Life Building.


Georgia State’s counseling center, located at 75 Piedmont Ave., is at an extreme disadvantage for the high volume of students who need its services. There simply aren’t enough counselors or office space. According to a previous article from The Signal, Georgia State has 52,814 students and only nine full-time counselors. That’s a ratio of 5,868 to one. And the problem isn’t at all that Georgia State students dislike the center. In fact, 512 students took the counseling satisfaction survey in the 201718 academic year, and 97% of them reported they were satisfied with the care they received. These services are free and can be beneficial to mental health, but for now, prepare to be on a waitlist and make sure to care for your mental health in the meantime. One other benefit students receive is access to the Student Health Clinic, with low-cost and sometimes free healthcare ranging from sick visits to prescription refills. Another health department, Student Health Promotion, offers free, confidential HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhea testing for students. The Health Clinic also provides pap smears and pregnancy tests, and female contraceptives like birth control pills, as well as free condoms, dental dams and lubricant for students. The clinic is located beside the University Commons, and it’s best to set up an appointment before going.

Illustrations by Devin Phillips





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Student groups for whatever you need on campus



In today’s age of social media, buying products and services from other students around you has never been easier. Everything from GroupMe chats boasting free food to Facebook groups selling textbooks can be found on the smart phones of those around you. Whatever you’re looking for, there’s a chat for that.

Illustrations by Sadie Burns | 25 & Page Design by SUMMER Devin 2019 Phillips

TEXTBOOKS, APARTMENTS, CLASS RECOMMENDATIONS AND ADVICE The GSU Book Exchange Facebook group has been in effect since 2007. It began as a place for students to ditch University Bookstore prices and buy or sell their used textbooks, but today it offers more of an online forum, answering questions about refunds, giving advice about classes and advertising rooms for rent. Jenny Scarlet has been a part of the Book Exchange since the beginning of the fall 2018 semester. “I like being able to ask other students about their experiences because they’re usually very honest and more relatable and I like how everybody helps each other out,” she said. While Scarlet hasn’t bought anything herself, she’s used the page to help a friend find an apartment. The current admins of the group are Georgia State graduates Rebecca Moss and Samuel Hanks. Hanks first became an admin after a curious moment. “I wish there was a better story than this, it was empty and I just clicked the button,” Hanks said. Hanks thought the page was useful, and with his relative understanding of technology and Facebook, he thought he could take on the new responsibility. As an admin, he said he doesn’t do too much besides accept new members and delete spam posts, but luckily the page has never gotten too out of control. “The people we have to remove are generally trying to publicize their own businesses,” he said. “At worst it’s just things completely unrelated to Georgia State. There’s been nothing that requires too much emotional investment.” And while the page has evolved from being strictly book related, Moss welcomes the change as she accepts any posts “student experience related.” “It’s becoming more of a [Georgia State] page than just a book exchange page,” she said. “During times when there’s a lot of confusion and chaos like the beginning of the semester when people are looking for refunds is usually when it gets the busiest.”


FREE FOOD, CAMPUS EVENTS, LASH AND HAIR SERVICES AND ARTWORK Josh Williams created the Lunchroom GroupMe during the 2014-15 school year when he was on the marketing committee for Spotlight Programs Board. It was created as a means for students to become more involved on campus through their favorite item: free food. “I really just started it to promote events because free food was always the best selling point to students,” Williams said. “It was just a free food GroupMe then. Once more and more people got in it, it became the Lunchroom.” Today, the Lunchroom GroupMe still boasts the locations of free food but now with more advertised events and services. These services range from offering to do someone else’s taxes, buying and selling hair, fixing phone screens and advertising internship opportunities and job openings. Student Allie Nicole has been part of the group for a few weeks. She loves using it as a way to stay informed about what’s happening on campus. “It’s good to hear about things that I may not have heard of like events or possible internship or job opportunities,” Nicole said. “I like using it because I think it’s an easy way to connect with a large group of other students.” The GroupMe currently has almost 2,900 members, with new members pouring in daily.


“Gas at One 12???”

Editor’s Note: Due to the illegality of this page’s content, the admin’s name has been changed to protect their privacy. The page’s name and platform will also remain nameless to protect the group and those in it. John Doe created the page in 2016 when planning a large gettogether to celebrate 4/20 with his friends. They needed a way to coordinate who was bringing what, and thus, the page was born. In just days, more and more people jumped in. “At first, it started off as 20 people, and then everyone started asking each other, ‘Who’s the plug?’ and I always had the answer,” Doe said. “Eventually, I started adding the other plugs to [the group] and they would add their clients.” Doe had already made a name for himself on campus by selling marijuana. He liked using the group to connect others buying and selling when he wasn’t available. Eventually, the page blew up and hit maximum capacity with 2,000 people. “I was like, ‘Look at this monster I’ve created.’ It took on a life of its own,” he said. Doe sold drugs to pay off his $37,000 of student loans from attending Georgia State. He appreciates the hustle, and although he no longer sells, he still enjoys sitting back and watching the page do its own thing. “Girl, you gotta hustle in a thousand different directions,” Doe said. “Those student loans will eat your a-- out in the worst way. Whenever I log in to check, it’s because I want something. It used to be only for weed but now you can get anything on it. This girl was selling fake IDs, fake money, guns, PlayStations, TVs on there. Private dances have [been] advertised there, too.” Most of the page’s users search for various drugs and dealers all across metro Atlanta. Dealers frequently post their menus and their pricing, enticing interested students with flash deals and bulk offers. One student advertised the psychedelic mushrooms they grew in their bathroom. Others advertised their edibles shortly after. And even later that evening? Puppies for sale. Georgia State University Police Department Chief of Police Joseph Spillane told The Signal his agency isn’t aware of any online drug selling and has never experienced problems with any of the university’s buy or sell groups.

“Come get some Nachos for $5” “Who can serve me rn i’m on exit 15,” “Yo if you were trying to sell me 2 green xans by the mix my phone died,” “Gas, carts, muscle relaxers 5-10 mg, beans... delivering now hit me,” “Yo I lost my juul anyone on here got a juul battery they’re trying to sell for the low,” “Do any of ya’ll live in commons? I’ll come to you,” “who got a dr note,” “Come get some for midterms,” “not edibles but still baked goods lol,” “15 an hour studio session at one12 PM me,” SUMMER 2019 | 27









See how The Signal rates each dining hall on campus.






or most college students, cheap meals are essential for survival. Georgia State’s seven-day unlimited meal plan costs $3,868 for the full academic year. That’s roughly $484 a month, or $16 a day, for students to eat as much as they want, whenever they want. So long as you’re eating three meals a day, that’s a steal. Georgia State operates three dining halls: Patton Hall, Piedmont Central and Piedmont North. In a survey of 45 Georgia State freshmen, Central and North tied for best dining hall. All of the dining centers are attached to residence halls that don’t have kitchens. So, any freshmen staying in those dorms are required to buy a meal plan.









One thing vegetarian student Joshua Forbes doesn’t like about the dining halls is that they “mislabel the food and I often end up eating meat on accident.” Forbes thinks Central has some of the best options for his diet, so he eats there the most. He only treks to North to interact with friends, and opts not to eat at Patton. Student Carolyn Smith also agrees that there’s “a lack of alternative options for students who are vegan or don’t eat processed foods.” Each dining hall has a designated area for vegetarian and vegan options. PIEDMONT CENTRAL Before Piedmont Central was built in 2016, there were no 24-hour dining halls on campus. Today, Central is open 24 hours a day, Monday through Thursday. Friday through Sunday, the dining hall closes at 9 p.m., which can make finding late-night food on the weekends difficult. By default, Central has the best late night food, given it’s the only hall open past 9 p.m. on weekdays. First-year student Cole Breedlove, although a resident of the University Commons, still has a seven-day meal plan because he never learned how to cook. Breedlove goes to Central when he’s not

sure what he wants to eat because he said Central has the most variety. All students The Signal interviewed agreed that Central had the best desserts.


Piedmont North has some of the most diverse food offerings of the three dining halls. North provides an international food station alongside a Mongolian grill that serves up made-to-order food. North has their wing night on Wednesdays. Breedlove and Smith both agreed North has the best wings on campus.


Patton is the smallest of the three dining halls. It offers wings every and custom millkshakes on Fridays. Breedlove’s favorite dining hall to go to is Patton, and he enjoys their stir-fry. “I feel like the food quality is best [at Patton]. I usually go to Patton for breakfast because it’s best there,” Breedlove said. He also admits that Patton doesn’t always have food options he likes, but for him that doesn’t happen often. TIPS FOR FRESHIES Several times a semester, the dining halls will transform into one-day special food events. In the past, there have been carnival nights, cook-out nights and even nights with a gourmet menu. Any student with a meal plan can eat at any dining hall they wish. The menus for each dining hall are posted online, so students can weigh their options from the comfort of their dorm room. Forbes’ tip for incoming freshmen? “Don’t get caught sneaking someone in.” Sneaking non-meal-plan students into the halls can result in meal plans being revoked. Guests — including parents and other students — can dine at the halls for a price between $8 and $15, depending on the time of day. Breedlove recommends that incoming freshmen “be nice to the staff, and don’t be afraid to try new things.” SUMMER 2019 | 29








WRITTEN BY MORGAN D’AMICO | STAFF REPORTER tudents on the Atlanta campus have the luxury of eating at diverse and delicious restaurants scattered throughout Downtown. While most of these can be found on Broad Street, others are sprinkled among neighboring streets, awaiting students’ discovery. Ditch the dining halls and check out the places



Illustrations & Page Design by Devin Phillips




Every Georgia State student knows that Rosa’s Pizza is a campus staple. Fast, cheap and delicious, this pizza place is a beloved Broad Street spot for students and alumni. “Rosa’s Pizza is fire,” student Sahad Walker said. “It reminds me of New York, but it’s down the street. I always get the two-piece combo with a soda.” Rosa’s Pizza is a tiny shop, typically packed with hungry customers. To find a place to sit and enjoy your slices, go down the secret back staircase that leads to a huge, open room with plenty of tables and chairs.

For a taste of Mexico in the heart of Atlanta, Taqueria on Broad Street is the place to go. Taqueria is known for its genuinely crafted menu and a comforting, home-style atmosphere brought to loyal customers by a friendly staff. “It’s authentic Mexican food,” Zach Moore said. “I get the steak quesadilla with queso and their great guacamole. You barely ever get two sides at Mexican places, aside from rice and beans.” When visiting Taqueria, check out the restaurant’s wide variety of Jarritos sodas. The guava and grapefruit flavors are among their most-sold drinks.

Green and Grill is a hub for vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. If you’re looking for a healthy breakfast or lunch, this counter-serve hotspot is the perfect fit for you. A wide variety of fresh salads, pasta, fruits and vegetables — as well as lean meats — are available throughout the week. “I like it because there’s a lot of variety and the food quality is good,” student Jordan Champagne said. “I always get the sweet potato casserole. They have great fruit, coffee and sushi.” Stop by during happy hour, Monday through Thursday between 3 and 4:30 p.m., for 30% off your ounce-priced order.

VENTURE A LITTLE FURTHER INDIAN CUISINE If you find yourself on Luckie Street, check out Aamar’s Indian Cuisine. Food lovers find solace at this late-night haven as most of their dishes are made in a clay Tandoori oven, served hot and fresh. One of their most celebrated and surprising dishes is their six-piece Aamar-style chicken wings. “You wouldn’t expect an Indian spot to even serve wings but the wings at Aamar are so good,” frequent customer and student Rehmat Khan said. “Just make sure you bring your own ranch, because even though they have great wings, no Indian restaurant is going to have ranch.”

BAKEHOUSE AND COFFEE SHOP Just a block from Langdale Hall, a new restaurant is attracting both coffee lovers and Mediterranean food buffs alike: Rozina Bakehouse and Coffee. This shop offers a wide variety of food and drinks, from $3 Turkish coffees to a diverse array of danishes, sandwiches, paninis and even pizza. “It’s different than most coffee shops, the aesthetic there reminds me of a garden,” Ruhama Philipos said. “It feels like a hole-in-thewall, does not feel like I am on campus at all.” If you’re looking for a trendy, relaxed environment to study and unwind before or after class, try Rozina. The Signal also highly recommends ¡Buenos Dias! Cafe, Reuben’s Deli, Ébrìk Coffee Room, Sensational Subs and Anatolia Cafe and Hookah Lounge. SUMMER 2019 | 31


eorgia State’s Atlanta campus is filled with several hidden places that can be of great assistance to students. Most of these places provide cheap or even free services and can be great tools for making college life easier. Discover these hidden gems around campus that your student fees are paying for.



The Panther’s Pantry offers resources including produce, nonperishable items, feminine hygiene products, toothbrushes and toilet paper to students. Located in the B Deck under the Urban Life Building, Panther’s Pantry is open Monday and Wednesday from 1 to 4 p.m. and Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Panthers are allowed one visit per week with a valid Panther ID.

desk on the second floor of Library North.


Located on the eighth floor of Library South, University Archives has everything from maps of Atlanta to newspapers, magazines, literature, Georgia State yearbooks and hundreds of other useful historical documents. The clerks are happy to help students utilize the online database or answer any questions they may have. So, if a student is in need of any documents for assignments, research or if they just want to check out some vintage magazines or newspapers, simply pay a visit to the archives.


Unlike the Student Health Clinic where students must ask someone behind the counter to receive a few lucky rubbers, Student Health Promotion holds a vast selection of condoms, lube and dental dams with easy access. The SHP office is located on Piedmont Avenue in the Citizens Trust Building, Suite 241, across from University Commons and Piedmont Central.

The Touch the Earth Rental Center is located within the Student Recreation Center and can be accessed either on the ground floor or the back entrance near S Deck. TTE allows students to rent many kinds of outdoor gear, like camping equipment, hammocks, canoes, kayaks and more. Bikes can be rented for $1 a day for up to three days at a time. If you’re in need of quick and cheap transportation, check out Touch the Earth — and don’t forget to ask about the awesome trips they offer.




Other than an endless amount of books, printers, computers and some of the best napping spots on campus, the library offers the ability to borrow pretty much anything including laptops, phone chargers, calculators, Expo markers and headphones. All you need is a Panther ID to check out these items at the Technology Support


The Student Government Association office offers free scantrons to students. The office is located in Student Center West, Suite 450. Show up between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. with a Panther ID and grab a scantron at no cost. Otherwise, you can purchase some from the University Bookstore 30 to 45 cents each. Photo by Unique Rodriguez & Doris Amouzou

Students with alternative jobs WRITTEN BY DANIELLA BOIK | STAFF REPORTER

Georgia State’s student body is just as clever as it is diverse when it comes to finding ways to pay tuition. Whether it’s late night shifts at The Pink Pony or selling “party favors,” some students find whatever ways they can to fund their education but their ramen noodles for the week.



With stripping, it’s possible to make up to $6,000 in one night. “Last night I made $1,500 just in that one shift,” a Georgia State student, who wished to remain anonymous, said. “Now I have so much random a-money, I don’t even know what to do with it all.” This student found no problem balancing school and work, as the hours are more flexible than having a job during normal business hours. “I can schedule myself to work whenever it’s convenient for me,” they said. “It’s not like a job where I work four times a week. I usually just work once every two weeks and it’s always the hours in which I’m not studying or doing anything anyways.”


Georgia State student Lexie Loehr dines at lavish sushi restaurants in Buckhead, shops at Lenox Mall and has tuition paid for, all from being a sugar baby. “I fluctuate between one to three sugar daddies at a time,” Loehr said. “All I have to do is meet up with them, have a conversation and get lunch. It’s really a meal plan more than anything.”


A Georgia State student, who goes by his screen name “JM,” flips iPhones on the Georgia State drug selling social media page. JM obtains iPhones, wipes their data and then re-sells them to other interested people. “I make $1,000 a day flipping iPhones,” JM said. “Easiest money ever, like taking candy from a baby. The most I ever made was $3,000 in one day. Zero bulls--- money moves.” Another Georgia State student, who wished to remain anonymous, splurges on the latest kicks at Wish, shops in the bougie section of Lenox Mall and has their tuition covered by selling marijuana vape cartridges on the same drug page. “Yeah I sell those carts, dab pens, whatever and I rake it in,” they said. “I just post videos on my Snapchat of all my stuff and send it to my homies who send it to theirs and it works.” As for the money moves, they make just as much, if not more, than those in the stripping business. Illustrations by Shancheze Johnson

SUMMER 2019 | 33





t’s no secret that room and board at Georgia State can cost a pretty penny, and surrounding accommodations are just as expensive. While the idea of commuting to school seems like an obvious money saver, there are pros and cons to each option — whether it be traffic, timeliness or overall convenience.


Whether you utilize a driving service like Uber or Lyft, or you’ve somehow managed to obtain a car, be prepared to spend some time in bumperto-bumper traffic. Morning rush hour can start as early as 6 a.m. and last all the way till 10 a.m. Evening rush hours are usually 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. Utilize apps like Waze for real-time updates on traffic. And always know the dates of big sporting events and political appearances so you can avoid that last-minute traffic like a professional commuter.


Georgia State has several parking decks: M, G, S, N, K and the deck at the University Lofts. There is a semester permit you can purchase for any of those lots through the University Parking office. Keep in mind that M Deck is restricted to semester passes and only allows parking for nonpass-holding students if space allows. By obtaining a budget card from University Parking, you’ll get a discount on daily parking rates in any of the aforementioned lots. The price drops to $2 after 4 p.m.. The majority of the student parking decks are open from Monday through Friday and close each day at 10 p.m.


Your semesterly transportation fee provides free parking at the Georgia State Stadium’s Blue Lot. A permit from University Parking is required to park there.The Blue Route has university busses running to and from Sparks and Langdale halls Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until midnight.


Public transportation is great when sufficient planning is put forth. However, it may be inconvenient if you live in an area that does not have a station close by. However, find the closest train or bus station and its frequency by using the MARTA app or itsmarta. com. For those in Gwinnett, the Gwinnett County Transit offers express routes to Downtown Atlanta via bus. The fare pricing can be as low as $3.75 for a one-way pass. Similarly, Cobb County has a transit with routes going in and out of the city. Prices range from $2.50 to $5.00 for adult fare.


Perhaps the greenest option for hitching a ride to school is the electric scooters provided by Bird, Lime, Lyft and Uber or the bikes available for rent. Bird’s electric scooters are unlocked at a $1 base rate, plus 15 cents for every minute spent on the scooter. If you live just within the outskirts of campus, this might be a convenient option for you.


Always be aware of your environment. Always keep personal belongings in your proximity, and never leave valuable goods within view in your car.


Illustration by Devin Phillips

Student Parking

Green Route

MARTA Stations

Purple Route


Red Route

Student Center

Blue Route

SUMMER 2019 | 35

Working as a lifeguard at Georgia State University recreational center is one of the highest paid positions.

On-campus jobs for everyone

Photo Illustration by Unique Rodriguez


s a college freshman, finding a job in the city may seem intimidating. One of the best ways for students to make extra money is by applying for one of Georgia State’s many on-campus jobs.


UNIVERSITY BOOKSTORE Freshman Amani Ashley began working at the University Bookstore in December. New to college life, her working at the bookstore provided an experience-heavy guide to navigating campus. “I have learned so much about [Georgia State] from my job,” Ashley said. “The bookstore basically doubles as a help desk because of how big it is. When people get lost, they come to the bookstore and ask for directions.” Positions at the University Bookstore like Ashley’s have an entry pay of $8 an hour. Most on-campus jobs begin with similar wages. Other jobs with higher certification requirements, such as lifeguarding at the Student Recreation Center, go upwards from $9.50 at the entry level.

RESEARCH ATTENDANT Through certain university departments, some students have found higher-paying work. Sophomore Clay Voytek is a research 36 | URBANITE

assistant at the Global Studies Institute. He spends his days in the office pulling sources, sorting through archives, reading transcripts and copyediting for a cultural anthropologist teaching at Georgia State. “I got the job through the Honors College,” Voytek said. “There’s a $2,500 cap a year, so I can work up to 20 hours a week. There’s a lot of flexibility with my hours each week.” Voytek’s yearly cap levels off at about $10 an hour. Aside from the increased pay, he cites other notable benefits that come with working alongside college professors. “I have a great relationship with the professor I work for,” Voytek said. “She’s really helped me set up my resume and learn applicable career skills. It almost feels like another class. It relieves a lot of stress because I don’t have to rush from class to a restaurant or store, I just have to go to 25 Park Place.”


The convenient location of on-campus jobs is one of the main factors attracting students to work at Georgia State. Another major appeal of having a job with the university is flexible work hours. Manuel Melendez began working at Saxby’s Coffee in August of 2017. His job,

located in Library North, allows him to organize his work hours around his classes. “The biggest perk is the ease of scheduling,” Melendez said. “The scheduling here is very student-friendly, so I can work between classes.”

HELPFUL TIPS Many students working their way through school agree that in order to perfect their busy schedules, it’s vital to arrange their classes wisely. “Set your schedule up so you are available to work as much as you can,” Ashley said. “Always introduce yourself to people that are already at the position you want to eventually hold. Always show initiative in your interests.”

ONLINE RESOURCES Several online resources such as Handshake, Georgia State’s employment website, and even your student email inbox are constantly updating and promoting available positions for work study opportunities. In addition, students looking for oncampus jobs should stay attentive to flyers posted outside of the Career Services Center and around local Georgia State businesses.










SUMMER 2019 | 37


| 39 Photos by Unique Rodriguez & Page Design by SUMMER Devin 2019 Phillips


he next year of Georgia State men’s basketball will be faced with much anticipation and expectation as the team enters a new phase in its development. The roster, under the efforts of new head coach Rob Lanier, stands to have a different look than from recent years. For Lanier, this marks his second opportunity as a head coach. The more than two decades of coaching experience, though, is what made the hire a no-brainer for athletic director Charlie Cobb. Lanier acknowledged that his youth and inexperience played a role in the way things went during his job as head coach at Siena. “When I became a head coach the first time, the landscape of the process to become a head coach was different,” Lanier said. “I interviewed for my first head coaching job when I was 28, and I interviewed for another one a week later. “At that time, my reputation as a future head coach was moving faster than my development as a head coach, but people thought I was a young guy, and I started getting opportunities,” Lanier said. At Georgia State, though, Lanier will be taking over a team that had seen unprecedented success under Ron Hunter. Under Hunter, the Panthers had three consecutive seasons of 21-plus wins, three Sun Belt Conference tournament championships and three trips to the NCAA Tournament. Panther basketball had grown into the class of the Sun Belt and the most outstanding Georgia collegiate basketball program. In the wake of Hunter’s exodus to Tulane after this past season, Lanier is expected to pick up the baton and take the program even farther.


Pictured to the left are Damon Wilson, Nelson Phillips and Josh Linder, crucial players in easing the loss of key stars Malik Benlevi, Jeff Thomas, Devin Mitchell and D’Marcus Simonds.

The departures of D’Marcus Simonds and four seniors – Devin Mitchell, Malik Benlevi, Jeff Thomas and Jordan Tyson -- after last season has left some sizeable holes on the roster to fill. The biggest of which starts with the coaching staff. By hiring former Georgia Tech, and most recently Rice, coach Chris Kerder and Cliff Warren, who spent the last two seasons at Massachusetts, Lanier is flanked by two individuals who have earned his trust on the staff. Lanier and Warren’s 25-year relationship resonates on both a professional and personal level, as they have great mutual respect for each other as coaches and as people. Kerder had long been on Lanier’s radar as a coach and recruiter. By recruiting Lanier’s son, Emory, Kerder, and Lanier formed their professional relationship, a process that left Lanier with a high opinion of his skills as a recruiter. Lanier, in his first few months at the helm – along with staff – has traveled to Detroit, Washington, D.C., and Canada to find talent that fits the program’s vision of finding mature student-athletes. But it’s locally in the state of Georgia where the talent is in abundance. Warren and Kerder offer Georgia State the credibility

and respect it will need to recruit young players in the area. During his local recruiting tours, Lanier noticed a common thread: the state and the Atlanta area want to see the Panthers do well as the new paradigm begins. “I would say that locally, there’s such a positive energy about Georgia State Basketball in the community; there’s a relationship with the community that I think transcends basketball,” Lanier told The Signal. “But there’s a sense that people in the community want to see us succeed. That’s a great way to come into a program where people who don’t even know you are giving you the benefit of the doubt.” For the next iteration of Panther basketball, the pressure will be mounting for them to have success. The goodwill that has followed the team, a factor Lanier attributes to the Hunter era, is something that can be fleeting as the season wears on.


Whatever team Lanier and his staff constructs will have to produce results that demonstrate progression in the right direction. The onus though, Lanier says, isn’t on one player to take up that mantle. Kane Williams and Damon Wilson, consistent starters to the team under Hunter, will ingratiate into a new system with Lanier. “My expectation is that we’re going to be successful, and we’re going to go into it with that mindset that we’re going to do the things that it takes to be successful,” Lanier said. “If we do those things then we would expect to have success, right? But how we get there, and who’s at the forefront of that, and those kinds of things we’re going to let happen [naturally]. We’re just going to get to work and let the work take care of things.” The work on the court is something the Lanier staff has already begun to work out. Lanier expects that the 3-point shot on offense should stand as a focal point on that end. He also anticipates the team will look to have a low-post presence on offense, a factor that lacked in Hunter’s offense. Yet, Lanier feels that the offense will be fluid and has the chance to adapt as the personnel becomes more clear. It is the work on defense that will be more definitive of the team as an identity. Georgia State basketball will hang its hat on man-to-man defense and forced turnovers. Lanier says that the team will be less of a “pressing team as much as we’re a pressure team.” “I think that teams become teams on the defensive end of the floor – that’s where you really establish and submit yourself [to something] that is bigger than yourself,” Lanier said. “That’s where we’re going to establish our identity, and I then I think we grow out of that process.” Georgia State men’s basketball, win or lose, will have a new image and feel under coach Lanier and his staff. The success of the past three years will assuredly hover over the 2019-20 season, and that pressure is primed to be more than the team can apply on any court. SUMMER 2019 | 41



eorgia State offers students an opportunity to attend all sporting events by giving them tickets for free. To watch Georgia State compete live against other Division I programs, all students have to do is register for each event they want to attend and claim their ticket.


To access student tickets, go to on a mobile device and sign in using a student CampusID and password. After signing in, click on the event and claim the ticket. This can be done weeks in advance of the game. At the gate a security guard will scan the ticket, and fans can sit anywhere they like in the general admission area. Parking is $10 in advance and $20 on gameday. Payment is cash only, but free shuttles run from the University Commons or GSU Sports Arena to Georgia State Stadium. Shuttles run all game long and postgame.


The claiming process for basketball is the same as football. Go to on a mobile device and sign in to claim the tickets. Because there is a high interest in many of the home basketball games, it is important to claim tickets early, as some games do sell out and the GSU Sports Arena has a smaller capacity than the football stadium. All home basketball games are played at the GSU Sports Arena. Security guards will check bags and scan the tickets. Concession stand prices are


affordable with everything priced at $1. No shuttle service is offered for basketball.


All home Georgia State baseball and softball games are played in Panthersville, Georgia. For these games, claiming tickets isn’t required. Security checks bags and guests walk right in. The address to the GSU Baseball Complex is 2819 Clifton Springs Rd. Decatur, GA. The Robert E. Heck Softball Complex is located at 2401 Wildcat Rd., Decatur, GA. Both complexes are on the same street.


The address to the soccer fields is 2451 Wildcat Rd., Decatur, GA, and tickets aren’t required.


The same policy for baseball and softball applies to tennis and golf. Just arrive with your Panther ID for verification and entrance is free of charge. The men’s and women’s tennis teams play home matches at the Sharon Lester Tennis Center at Piedmont Park, 1320 Monroe Dr. NE Atlanta, GA. The address to the home tennis matches at the Georgia State Clarkston Campus is 555 N Indian Creek Dr. Clarkston, GA. If you have trouble with claiming tickets, you can always contact the Georgia State Ticket Office located at 755 Hank Aaron Dr. SE, Atlanta, GA. You can also call at 404-413-4020.

Illustration by Devin Phillips


Recruiting is an essential part of any college athletics program, no matter the sport. Without having good players, chances of winning on an elite level are nearly impossible. With Georgia State being a mid-major program, they will always have the odds stacked against them when it comes to recruiting elite players. Despite the midmajor label, they have been able to land some stand-out players like D’Marcus Simonds, Penny Hart, RJ Hunter and Jada Lewis. Each sport is different when it comes to recruiting; they have different rules and areas of specialties. Here are some of the ways that coaches at Georgia State sell their pitch.



Assistant coach Tiffany Morton heads up the recruiting for the women’s basketball team. Morton and staff have used the momentum of new coach, Gene Hill, and their best season since 2003 to pitch to recruits. The Panthers will bring nine new players into the program this fall. Six of those players will be freshman and three are transfer students. The program lost seven seniors from the 2018-19 team. In his second season at

Georgia State, Hill can now recruit more of his type of players rather than players that were sought out under the previous coaching regime. The state of Georgia has rich basketball talent, and now Morton has seen players that want to remain in that state for school or come back home via transfer. “Coming out of high school, kids did not necessarily think, ‘I want to go to Georgia State,’” Morton said. “And so now having success and creating that buzz has given us the opportunity where we’ve had numerous calls from kids saying that they want to come back home, being excited about the possibility of being a Georgia State Panther.”


The women’s soccer team finished fifth in the the Sun Belt Conference this past season and made a run in the Sun Belt Conference tournament, but soccer is different. Head coach Ed Joyce doesn’t believe the team will see the results from recruiting until several years down the line because the freshmen that come in won’t contribute for some time. However, Joyce believes that everyone can tout their stats and what they’ve done, so he likes to sell the overall package of attending Georgia State. Being from England, Joyce can use some

of his connections to help him recruit some international talent. Currently, the team has three international players on the roster. But overall, they look for players that are very technical in their games and have some athleticism. “We’re at a really good balance at the moment,” Joyce said. “This is the first year that we’ll look to move into the fall with a real experienced group because of what they did last fall.” Every sport has its unique twists and turns in recruiting. Volleyball head coach Sally Polhamus likes to take a look at players as early as high school freshmen or sophomores to have them locked in and track their development throughout their career. With new men’s basketball head coach Rob Lanier, time will tell where the bulk of his players will come from. So far he has offered players from Tennessee and gone as far north as Canada. He has a track record of being a good recruiter; Lanier helped nab signed NBA veteran, forward Miles Turner when he coached at Texas. Georgia State can offer a unique sales pitch that a lot of schools in the Southeast can’t offer by being located in the unofficial capital of the south, and it pays off. SUMMER 2019 | 43


Making money from video games WRITTEN BY ESPEN INDRISANO | SPORTS EDITOR


hat if students could pay their tuition by playing video games? With Georgia State’s new esports program, they just might. In 2017, Georgia State entered the competitive world of esports. With five varsity rosters, competing in games from League of Legends to SMITE, the program offers students the chance to showcase their skills while earning valuable scholarship money. “The program was formally started in the beginning of the fall 2017 semester,” Lucas Bailey, the esports program coordinator, said. “It was a culmination of realizing the fact that a lot of [Georgia State] students game and that esports is a rapidly growing industry.” For students interested in trying out for the varsity rosters, there are plenty of scholarships to go around.

Illustration by Devin Phillips

“We offer all players $1,000 scholarships,” Bailey said. In addition to the base scholarship, many of the competitions themselves offer scholarship prizes, allowing players to win even more money. The esports program has won over $20,000 in scholarships for their varsity teams, according to Bailey. For players like Praful Gade, a varsity player on the SMITE and Paladins teams, the money is a big help. “You get to keep whatever you win, which is nice,” Gade said. “The SMITE team itself has won over $9,000 already.” While the schedules of each game vary, esports is a year-round program. “SMITE and Paladins are in the fall, League of Legends and Overwatch have their major seasons in the spring, but there are individual tournaments dotted throughout the year,” Bailey said. The teams have had plenty of success since the program’s initiation. “The most recent event we had was PantherLAN, which is an event that Georgia State hosted,” Bailey said. “This was essentially the state championship for SMITE and Paladins, and we won both of those for the third time in a row.” Gade believes that any student that has the chance to get involved should do so. “There are a lot more opportunities

other than gaming,” Gade said. “We have production positions, streamer positions and marketing positions. So really, there is something for everyone in the program, which I really love because it lets you network with a lot of people.” Tryouts are held shortly after school begins in the fall. Be on the lookout for information in August, as tryouts are typically held in early September. “If you are a freshman looking to join the team, you should be trying out in the fall and need to be in the know,” Gade said. “We hold tryouts pretty early.” Gade said the team continues to look for players that synergize well with the other players and fit into the program’s culture. Always keep an eye out for new games or platforms. As Bailey said, the ever-changing field of technology continues to push the industry to new heights. “I think what will be very interesting to see is when [virtual reality] esports take off,” he said. “The technology is developing, it is becoming cheaper all the time and games are now being developed exclusively for VR systems.” Georgia State’s Creative Media Industries Institute is home to a virtual reality testing lab and a gaming lab, which is open to any and all players who want to sit back, unwind and play their favorite games.

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Why you should support Georgia State sports WRITTEN BY ESPEN INDRISANO | SPORTS EDITOR

porting events offer a great way to further enhance students’overall college experience. If superfan Sherrill Moss and Associate Athletic Director for Sport Communications Mike Holmes have anything to say about it, students should be excited to get out and support the teams next year. “It is free and fun entertainment,” Moss, a football season ticket holder since 2010, said. “With six men’s teams and nine women’s teams, there is a sport for every taste and appetite.” Students and alumni alike remember former shooting guard RJ Hunter’s miraculous three-pointer to sink Baylor in the 2015 March Madness tournament. Coupled with famous images of former head coach Ron Hunter falling off his stool, the game went down in Georgia State folklore as one of the greatest moments in the history of the basketball program. “I think what men’s basketball has done with three tournament appearances in the last five years has played a huge part [in national recognition],” Holmes said. For Moss, the basketball program’s past few years have been incredible to watch. “These are exciting times at GSU with the winningest basketball team in the state of Georgia,” Moss said. “We beat Georgia Tech, Alabama and Georgia within 12 months.” In addition to winning the Cure Bowl in 2017, its first ever bowl game victory, next season will mark the football program’s 10th anniversary. “I knew when football launched it would be superb,” Moss said. “We are so lucky to have grown so quickly over the last 10 years.” But attendance numbers continue to disappoint – and it’s something the school seeks to improve “What I hope is that anybody comes out just once to check out a game,” he said. “You are probably going to get hooked.”



A sold out Georgia State Stadium requires 25,000 tickets purchased, and that hasn’t been seen since the university acquired the stadium 2017. But a few games, including one against Kennesaw State and the inaugural game, have seen crowds of over 20,000. Holmes said he would love to see an all-student crowd fill up the stadium in the future. At the Georgia State Sports Arena, a sellout crowd is 3,854. While the team has competed in front of sellout crowds against state rival Georgia Southern each of the past five years, many other games fall short. Hunter, who left the basketball program to coach at Tulane next season, often pleaded with students to come support his team at basketball games. For those worried about costs, worry no more. All Georgia State students get tickets free of charge. Most events, including beach volleyball and baseball, do not require tickets at all. “At the end of the day, all of our students get in for free,” said Holmes. “We try to keep our concession prices reasonable. If you look at the [Georgia State Sports Arena], all of our concessions are $1. You can eat like a champ for five bucks.” The entertainment offered, whether you’re a sports fanatic or not, makes the experience that much better. “Look at our beautiful cheer and pep squads,” Moss said. “The spirit and entertainment they provide at games is fantastic. And our band adds pop and class to every football and basketball game. It is great to be at Georgia State.” With a number of in-game competitions, like cash runs and shooting contests, you may leave an event richer than when you entered. “We are always looking at in-game entertainment for the enjoyment of our students and fans,” Holmes said. “From music to promotions we are always looking for ways to evolve.”



16, 602 AVERAGE ATTEND 24, 333 SEATS TOTAL Source: Georgia State Athletics 46 | URBANITE

Photo submitted by Georgia State Athletics

SUMMER 2019 | 47


ummer is here and with it comes intramural season at Georgia State. Intramural sports allow students to compete against one another in various athletic events at a less competitive level than the Georgia State Panthers. Just like the school year itself, intramural sports are divided into three semesters: fall, spring and summer. Each intramural semester includes a variety of intramural sports for students to take part in. Activities like flag football, basketball and soccer take place across both fall and spring semesters due to their popularity. Teams can be gendered or co-ed depending on the sport. Intramurals have regular season games that determine seeding for playoffs, which all lead up to a championship game. Team captains choose the team name, and some teams get creative to set themselves apart. “Charlie Sheening,” for example, was the name of the 3-on3 basketball team that won the recent intramural championship. The 2019 bowling champions, “The Dudes,” also won recently to close out their season. One of the members during their championship run was Georgia State graduate Ryan Whitwell. “It’s from the best bowling movies of all time,” Whitwell said. The team took inspiration from the film “The Big Lebowski,” in which the main character, played by Jeff Bridges, was nicknamed The Dude. The bowling teams play every Monday at Midtown Bowl and the season begins in the spring semester. Students who wish to indulge in fun and nostalgia can try their hand in Battleship. Like the famous game, both teams are challenged to sink the other team’s boat, but this time using buckets. The winners of this year’s Battleship were the Birdbox Boyz. The championship team was lead by current Georgia State senior Patric Kun.



Two of the most popular intramural sports are flag football and 5-on-5 basketball. Zach Cox played both sports and Justin Pratley played flag football. Both played on the flag football team named The Sleepers. “It was a great time we made it to the playoffs, but lost to Phi Kappa Alpha,” Cox said. The intramural season also gives rise to other new programs such the new table tennis programs set to start up next spring season. The table tennis program will be held in the Student Recreation Center next to the gym.

“I saw this [as] an opportunity … an important part of school is community,”

- James Mechwart Georgia State junior

Georgia State junior James Mechwart helped start up table tennis as an intramural. Mechwart started the program due to a love of the game and longing for more community in his place of education. “I saw this [as] an opportunity … an important part of school is community,” Mechwart said. Intramural slots can fill up pretty quick. Visit to register as a team or player.

SPRING 2-Person Golf Scramble


4v4 soccer


5v5 basketball


Arena flag football





FALL Disc golf tournament


Dodgeball tournament


Flag football

Wiffle ball

Indoor soccer

3v3 basketball

SUMMER Spikeball



Illustrations by Demetri Burke & Page Design by Devin Phillips


3v3 basketball

Flag football

Madden NFL

SUMMER 2019 | 49

The new leaders of our football team WRITTEN BY JOI MOORE | STAFF REPORTER


The play that some freshmen football players — now returning as sophomores — will bring to the table is going to have a big impact this season. Running back Seth Paige says he’s made development in speed and strength, giving credit to Georgia State’s new strength and conditioning team and facilities. Because of the potential that incoming freshmen brought to the table last year, some of them were given a decent amount of playing time. This was an adjustment for many of the players, particularly Paige. “I had to step up real early,” he said. “I had to influence others to do the same.” Sophomore cornerback Quavian White said his role on the team grew in expectation as he became a starter. “When I first came, they expected a lot out of me,” White said. “I feel like I stepped up to the plate and showed that I was growing throughout the season.” Both White and Paige credited Georgia State for contributing to their growth as players and students. White expressed how the university is preparing him for “the real world” and shared the importance


of networking and building relationships. Paige commented on how being at Georgia State has taught him the importance of balance and “being on top of everything” in relation to classes and practice. Fans have plenty to expect out of the Panthers in this upcoming season. Paige noted how the team is starting to become one, as each person is growing physically and mentally. “Last year, we had a lot of missing pieces that we didn’t have,” Paige says, “But this year I feel like everything is getting fixed up.” In regard to the upcoming season, senior quarterback Dan Ellington also commented on the team’s progression. “It is definitely going to be a different team,” he said “We’re just going to get out there and play and not worry about last season. Just preparing for next season and Tennessee right now.” Georgia State will open its 2019 season on Aug. 31 in Knoxville, Tennessee, when it takes on the Tennessee Volunteers. The team will host the Furman Paladins for their first home game of the season on Saturday, Sept. 7.

2019 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE August 31 at Tennessee Volunteers September 7 vs. Furman Paladins September 14 at Western Michigan Broncos September 21 at Texas State Bobcats October 5 vs. Arkansas State Red Wolves October 12 at Coastal Carolina Chanticleers October 19 vs. Army Black Knights October 26 vs. Troy Trojans November 9 at Louisiana Monroe Warhawks November 16 vs. Appalachian State Mountaineers November 23 vs. South Alabama Jaguars November 30 at Georgia Southern Eagles

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