Drew Lafferty profile B7
Meet SGA candidates A6
VOLUME 35, ISSUE 19
LIBERTYCHAMPION.COM | TUESDAY, APRIL 17, 2018 | LIBERTY UNIVERSITY
nostalgia on stage
Lynchburg and its nearby counties are recovering from recent twister
Will Young firstname.lastname@example.org
Max Loth | Liberty Champion STUDENT TALENT AT THE VINES — “The Montanas” act performed “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus at “Coffeehouse: The Motion Picture,” April 14 .
A confirmed tornado along with heavy rainfall and a small hailstorm hit the city of Lynchburg and its surrounding counties on the evening of Sunday, April 15, causing fallen trees and power lines along with the destruction of multiple storefronts and residential properties in the area. As of 10 a.m. on Monday, there were eight reported injuries caused by the storm and zero fatalities. In the Carolinas and Virginia, 140,000 residents were left without power. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency Monday in western and central Virginia “to help local and state agencies respond to damage.” Tornado warnings were first issued Sunday evening just south of Lynchburg in
Bridging safety and sense A look at the safety of Liberty’s bridges after the collapse at FIU Mikaela Stiner email@example.com
“Hey, what’s up?” Whenever Bruce and Debbie Brownfield picked up a phone call from their son, Brandon Brownfield, those were the first words they heard. As a tower crane technician, Brandon Brown-
field spent some days in the office but spent most days working hundreds of feet off the ground. Two or three times a week, he would call his parents and chat for the 30-minute commute home after leaving his office or job site. But on Thursday, March 15, around 5 p.m., it was Brandon Brownfield’s
Jack Panyard | Liberty Champion OVERHANG — Liberty is host to three major bridges.
wife and mother of his three daughters, Chelsea Brownfield, who made a phone call to Bruce and Debbie Brownfield. Chelsea Brownfield was unable to contact her husband and was letting her parents-in-law know that the GPS tracker on his truck showed that he was very close to the pedestrian bridge collapse at Florida International University that had happened that day. Immediately after receiving the call, Bruce and Debbie Brownfield packed some clothes and began the three-hour drive down to the site of the bridge collapse. When they were about half an hour away, a friend called to confirm
that Brandon Brownfield’s truck was underneath the bridge. The Brownfields arrived at the scene of the bridge collapse late Thursday night. “We thought there was hope at that point. We were just mostly hoping for a miracle,” Bruce Brownfield said. “We could only see the tailgate of Brandon’s truck — the rest was completely covered by the bridge wreckage.” It wasn’t until Sunday morning that the truck was finally pulled out from under the bridge and Brandon Brownfield was officially pronounced dead. The FIU bridge col-
lapse, which caused six fatalities, made national news and brought the sobering consequences of innovative but questionable construction methods and inadequate safety precautions to national attention. According to Daniel Deter, the vice president of major construction at Liberty University, the FIU bridge was an example of a new technology for bridge construction. The bridge had been completely assembled “on the ground” — guard rails and all — before it was hoisted into place over the busy street. See BRIDGE, A2
Vines experiencing growth Campus stadium to have new 125,000 square foot multipurpose arena added on Bethany Kocik firstname.lastname@example.org
Liberty University announced March 17 its plans to expand the Vines Center to create a multipurpose arena that will accommodate sporting events and concerts that do not require the 10,000 seats that the Vines Center currently provides. According to Daniel Deter, the vice president of major construction at Liberty University, the new expansion, which will be known as the Liberty Arena, will be beneficial to anyone attending
events at Liberty. Preparations to begin the construction of the new arena will begin immediately following spring 2018 Commencement. “This new venue will provide students with a more intimate place to go to support their Flames teams,” Deter said in an email. “With the overall lower seating count and higher angle for viewing the floor, students will be able to pack the house in support of our Flames teams — helping to provide our teams a true home court advantage. Plus, having a smaller ven-
ue for concerts that don’t need the 10,000-seat attendance, students will be closer to the action and have better sight lines.” According to Deter, the new arena will be around 125,000 square feet and will be attached to the existing Vines Center. In addition, the new arena will accommodate events Photo Provided that hold around 4,000 BUILDING — The addition will host smaller events. attendees, and an additional 500 floor seats can be added if the court is not visitors. These new ameni- There is also talk of movties will include four new ing the women’s volleyball being used. Deter also stated that locker rooms for the men’s locker rooms and offices the new facility will in- and women’s basketball into the new facility. clude several new ameni- teams that will double as ties for athletes, staff and green rooms for events. See VINES, A7 INSIDE THE CHAMPION
The Lynchburg Skate Park opened on April 14 after months of discusA2 sion and debate.
A student’s perspective on the importance of students voting in local A4 elections.
Profile of lady flames tennis singles and doubles record holder B1 Evangeline Crist .
Students start the Oh Hello Movement to encourage others and fight loneliness. B5
Pittsylvania and Campbell counties, and severe thunderstorm warnings were issued in the cities of Roanoke, Buena Vista and Lexington, as well as the counties of Amherst, Bedford, Botetourt, Rockbridge and Franklin. “Obv iously, Ly nchburg got a lot of attention for the storm, but really it stretched all the way down to places and North Carolina and skipped itself up to Lynchburg and the counties around it,” Jake Ruckman, forecaster for the Blacksburg National Weather Service, said. According to WSET Chief Meteorologist George Flickinger, as the storm moved from Danville to Campbell County and Lynchburg, it weakened, leading the National Weather Service to lift its tornado warning at 6:45 p.m. Sunday evening. See TORNADO, A3
NEWS @ LIBERTY
Washington, D.C. welcomed Liberty University faculty and staff Wednesday, April 11, for a time of collaboration with legislators and public servants to help improve public policy and higher education. Participants attended a breakfast at the Library of Congress along with members of various educational departments within the U.S. government. The U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Program to 2017 Liberty graduate Katarina Bouton. Bouton graduated with a degree in teaching English as a second language, and the scholarship will give her the opportunity to teach English in Asturias, Spain. Liberty University’s Center for Energy Research & Education received a GO Virginia grant of $300,000 from Virginia Governor Ralph Northam to build four labs: a chemical/material lab, an electromagnetic compatibility lab, a calibration lab and a nondestructive testing lab. Alluvion Stage Company’s “Big Fish” will premiere at the Tower Theater April 20 and run through May 6. This Broadway musical is based on Daniel Wallace’s 1998 novel of the same name and was also an acclaimed 2003 film directed by Tim Burton.
News Opinion Sports Feature
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A2 | April 17, 2018 | Liberty Champion
Boarding Lynchburg Rotary Centennial Riverfront Skatepark opens after months of discussion Mikaela Stiner email@example.com
The grand opening of the Rotary Centennial Riverfront Skatepark April 14 celebrated not only the formal opening of the skate park to the city of Lynchburg, but also the journey it took to get there. In August 2017, Lynchburg resident Lauren Dianich began to encourage her son and his skateboarder friends to contact the Lynchburg City Council and push for a reopening of the skate park, rather than just complaining about the limited hours. After several months of raising awareness, writing letters to city council members and building connections within the skateboarding community, the City of Lynchburg Department of Parks and Recreation agreed to reopen the skate park. “(The skateboarding community) saw that they could make a difference, and they could speak their minds by taking a good ap-
proach to (the situation),” Dianich said. “People often feel like they don’t have a say or things are out of their control — this (skate park) is something in their hometown that is in their control.” Dianich — who is now the coorganizer of the Lynchburg skateboard advocacy group, Save Our Skatepark LYH — said that for years, skateboarders in Lynchburg have been frustrated by the skate park’s few and inconsistent hours. “It’s a beautiful park; it’s a wonderful park, but any business that is only open 12 hours a week is going to fail — that’s just a given,” Dianich said. According to Dianich, many skateboarders — young and old — came out of the woodwork and began to help with the petitioning process as awareness for the cause grew. “It was very heartening to meet the (skateboarders) and find they have this community,” Dianich said. “It’s a strong community, but
Valerie Pors | Liberty Champion RIBBON — Talks to reopen the skate park have been occuring for months. BRIDGE continued from A1 “(The new construction) was a great concept because you minimize the traffic that you disrupt,” Deter said. “Obviously the downside is that something didn’t
work right.” Liberty’s Planning and Construction department has established many safety and security measures for the ongoing construction on campus. According to Deter, the stability of any bridge on Liberty’s campus is
Jack Panyard | Liberty Champion UNDERPASS — Liberty added a new bridge to campus last fall.
their voice was being ignored.” Dianich said Liberty Mountain Skate Park was a significant help in the efforts to reopen the Rotary Centennial Riverfront Skatepark, generously providing practical data and information as the advocacy group petitioned for the reopening of the park. “(The Liberty Mountain Skate Park) could have said, ‘Well, we don’t want you opening it because that’ll take away from (our skate park),” Dianich said. “They didn’t do that — they were very nice about sharing information and being supportive. They know that skateboarding is a community, and people can’t go to the same place all the time.” The good attitudes and kind interactions of skateboarders at the Liberty Mountain Skate Park has also positively influenced the skateboarding community in Lynchburg, Dianich said. “Some people might think that (skateboarders) are territorial or not friendly, but because of how Liberty runs its indoor skate park, there’s a good understanding of how to treat one another, and people treat each other well,” Dianich said. “Generally, skateboarders do (treat each other well), but (Liberty Mountain Skate Park) set the tone.” Since the soft opening of the Rotary Centennial Riverfront Skatepark in February, Dianich said that the park has been regularly occupied by skateboarders, some traveling from up to an hour away. “The main goal has been to get the park open, but there have been
a lot of nice side benefits — meeting new neighbors and meeting people with similar interests,” Dianich said. Dianich said that skateboarding is an excellent sport for any kid to become involved with because it is so affordable, and having a local skate park means that little commitment is required from the parents. Because a variety of age groups participate in the sport and because there are no formal coach-
es, relationships and community are quickly built. “For a lot of kids — no matter their family situation — when you’re in those teenage years, you really need to be able to talk to other people and see different perspectives besides just your parents,” Dianich said. “The skate park is a very informal place where that happens, but it happens.”
largely dependent on the foun- safety inspection, where the height dation and on third-party qual- of guard rails and any potential ity control inspections utilized tripping hazards are addressed. throughout the entire construc“We’ve got enough safety meation process. We’ve got enough “We don’t wait until the bridge is done and then inspect it and safety measures in place have (an inspector) try to figure to protect not only the out — is that weld good, is that conworkers’ safety — because crete thick enough, is the concrete obviously we don’t want a right?” Deter said. “What we do is worker getting hurt — but hire third-party quality control.” Deter said that every time con- then after the workers are crete is poured, the quality control gone, it can stay safe for a inspector tests a sample in the lab long time. to ensure that the mix is correct. — Daniel Deter “They actually put pressure on (the concrete sample) and then break it and make sure that if it’s sures in place to protect not only supposed to be 3,000 pounds per the workers’ safety — because obsquare inch, that’s the kind of con- viously we don’t want a worker getcrete we actually have,” Deter said. ting hurt — but then after the work“If any of those tests fail, then we ers are gone, it can stay safe for a know that there’s a problem with long time,” Deter said. the concrete that we put in place.” Deter said that roads that run A similarly rigorous steel in- underneath bridges constructed spection also takes place — an on Liberty’s campus are closed to inspector checks every weld and public traffic until all the final inbolt to ensure that everything fits spections have occurred. together securely. According to “Before we will allow people to Deter, the concrete and steel in- drive underneath (a new bridge), spections are followed by a general we make sure it’s at the point where
the welds have been checked, the bolts have been checked and everything that is connection-related is solid,” Deter said. Debbie Brownfield said that perhaps the horrific effects of this collapse could have been avoided had traffic not continued under the bridge while its stability was still being determined. “They could have stopped the traffic while they were uncertain of the safety of the bridge,” Debbie Brownfield said. “They should have just not had traffic there at all.” Safety measures and construction practices at Liberty are constantly being reevaluated and improved in order to ensure the safest possible campus. “Nothing is worth one person getting hurt,” Deter said. “It’s a very sad thing that happened at (FIU), and we don’t want to have anything like that happen (here at Liberty).”
CAMPUS CALENDAR 04/17 - Scholars Series Talk - Bruce Ashford 10:00 a.m. | JFL Esbenshade Atrium - Lower 04/17 - DIRT Talk on The Work to be Done 6:30 p.m. | Montview Student Union - Center4ME Reception 04/17 - Open Mic Night 7:00 p.m. | Montview Student Union - Argo Teahouse 04/18 - School of Music Afro-Cuban Ensemble Concert 7:30 p.m. | School of Music Green Room - 021 04/19 - Commonwealth of Virginia Debate for U.S. Senate 7:00 p.m. | School of Music Performance Hall - 050 04/19 - SGA Election Debate 7:00 p.m. | DeMoss Hall 1284 04/20 - Global Worship Symposium 5:30 p.m. | School of Music Green Room - 021 COLOR KEY:
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Valerie Pors | Liberty Champion TRICKED OUT — The skate park boasts a variety of skating structures.
STINER is a news reporter.
STINER is a news reporter.
CO N VO CAT I O N S C H E D U L E TYLER STATON
Lynchburg Daily Bread
AND SCOTT LAMB
04.20.18 BRAD POWELL
Boys & Girls Club
Liberty Champion | April 17, 2018 | A3
Graduation prep commences Liberty plans for the 2018 Commencement ceremonies with former President Jimmy Carter With the spring semester a mere four weeks from conclusion, the campus-wide preparation and planning for Liberty University’s 2018 Commencement May 19 is in full swing. Faculty members from every corner of the university have been hard at work in an effort to create an enjoyable experience for the projected 18,000 graduates and 35,000-40,000 guests slated to fill the campus. Lori Baker, program manager for Commencement, and her team have been working on developing the various events and elements of Commencement for roughly eight months, and Baker noted that she is looking forward to seeing the same joyous reactions that she has seen in her 11 years as program manager. “My team plans the event, but there are hundreds and hundreds of staff members throughout the campus that are involved in Commencement,” Baker said. “They’re as excited for the graduation as the graduates, and it’s cool to see the service culture of Liberty come
together that weekend and put on the event.” One of the foremost topics regarding the ceremony is the logistics involving the ongoing construction of Williams Stadium, the ceremony’s venue. Daniel Deter, vice president of major construction, has ensured that the stadium is equipped and suitable for the ceremony crowd, despite the unusable portions still set to be a work in progress. He also noted there will be temporary restroom facilities, designated pedestrian paths and food trucks serving concessions during the day. In regard to the rest of Liberty’s on-campus additions, Deter is thrilled to showcase to the thousands of visitors the numerous buildings and add-ons to the campus that have been added in recent years, with the Freedom Tower as the highlight of the expansion. “With all the new facilities we have brought online the past couple of years, our guests will struggle to see them all in just this single day,” Deter said. “With (the Freedom Tower)’s location and being the highest building in the city, we are predicting that there will be an enormous amount of traffic
visiting this new building to get the bird’s eye view of our beautiful campus.” Baker shared the enjoyment of seeing the large amount of people who get to see the campus in person for the first time, namely those who are graduating with degrees earned online. “While a lot of our residential graduates have come through and seen these buildings being built, a lot of our online graduates that are coming to campus are doing so for the first time, so they get to see the things that they’ve heard about,” Baker said. In addition to the on-campus architectural sights, former President Jimmy Carter will give the Commencement address. Carter’s presence will mark the second consecutive president to speak at a Liberty graduation, as current U.S. President Donald Trump addressed 2017 graduates. “President Carter has done a lot of great humanitarian work in the country, and I think it’s going to be great to have his encouraging speech to our graduates,” Baker said. “I talk to a lot of other schools about their Commencements, and it’s just neat to say that when
you graduated you had a president or a former president at your ceremony.” As one of the many students set to be handed a diploma, Cameron Phillips is looking forward to the ceremony and everything that it signifies about himself, his fellow graduates and the university as a whole. “I think Commencement is a real way of acknowledging the ways that we, as students, have been blessed, that we’ve been able
TORNADO continued from A1 “As the storm neared Lynchburg, though, it quickly strengthened into a small but powerful tornado, and it continued to strengthen as it hit Elon in Amherst County where the tornado did most of the damage,” Flickinger said In response, the National Weather Service reinstated its tornado warning. On Monday morning, a team of surveyors from the Blacksburg National Weather Service traveled to Lynchburg to confirm that the storm can be classified as at least
an EF1 tornado. In the Lynchburg area, most of the damage was contained to Timberlake Road in Campbell County and the immediate surrounding areas. The storefronts damaged severely on the street include The Floor Show Carpet One Floor & Home, Waterlick Garage and Tire, MedExpress and Burger King. According to Campbell County Spokesperson Sherry Harding, 15 to 20 commercial buildings and three residential properties were reported to be damaged in the county. In nearby Amherst County, Ruckman said that there were reports of 20 homes destroyed.
In the area where damage was concentrated, no school buildings
who still do not have power, Harding could not give a timeline to when power would be restored. During Monday’s Convocation, Senior Vice President for Spiritual Development David Nasser encouraged students to volunteer this Saturday, April 21, to assist in relief efforts for the storm. According to Nasser, 1,100 students had already signed up to volunteer for the second annual Lynchburg Serve day, but he said that he hopes to have more than 2,000 students sign up to volunteer for storm relief. “Liberty is not just a university, it’s a movement,” Nasser said
Ryan Klinker firstname.lastname@example.org
As the storm neared Lynchburg, though, it quickly strengthened into a small but powerful tornado. — George Flickinger in Campbell County have reported structural or severe damage. Harding said that power companies were working Monday to run new power lines to restore power to more than 2,000 customers in the county who lost it. For those
to finish what we’ve done, the ways that the school has been able to continue to grow and act as a kind of final admonishment for all of us going out to continue to practice the same principles instilled in us here,” Phillips said. While there is still some work to be done, the crowds and the festivities are set in place to celebrate the future for the newest graduates from Liberty University. KLINKER is a news reporter.
Kaitlyn Becker Johnson | Liberty News Service JOY — Graduates celebrated after Commencement in 2017. on the Convocation stage. “Our city and our county … all around this entire area has been devastated by the tornado that just came through. Our city needs God’s people to say, ‘Here I am with my arms wide open ready to serve.’” Pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church Jonathan Falwell announced on Twitter Sunday night that TRBC opened as a shelter for those whose homes were damaged in the storm and needed a place to stay, and TRBC also sent out crews Monday to begin the process of clean up and debris removal. YOUNG is the editor-in-chief.
April 17, 2018
Your vote matters Students need to be involved in local government As politicians ride the voters to John Vence state and federal levels, the citizens email@example.com they oversee become increasingly Eight candidates are vying for the generalized. Towns merge into counthree open positions on Lynchburg ties, counties blur into states and inCity Council, and it’s up to you to de- dividuality is forgotten as the people are labeled “the public” for the sake of cide who wins. The News & Advance reported that simplicity. But when it comes to low-ranking in 2016, only 11.9 percent of Lynchburg’s registered voters voted in the politics in a small city, like the city last city council elections. Out of council elections, candidates can’t 80,000 people, that’s a mere 10th that forget Lynchburg’s average citizens chose the people to oversee infrastruc- because that’s exactly who they serve. Katie Webb Cyphert is a Girl Scout troop leader and a special education instructor. Independent Al Billingsley raised his two kids here while working as a small business owner. Derek Polley studied at Liberty University. From incredibly diverse backgrounds, they are grassroots politicians for the grassroots voters. And Cassandra Hernandez| Liberty Champion believe it or not, IMPROVEMENTS — City council officials are responsible for that includes you as local projects such as the downtown bridge renovations. a Liberty student or even a general readture, water quality, educational insti- er of the Liberty Champion. tutions and city taxes. You might think that none of this It was a 10th of the city’s population pertains to you. That your stay here that picked the council members who is only temporary. For many of you, both approved taking over the River- that’s true. front Skate Park at the request of the But for at least four years, the City of 250-member skating community and Seven Hills is your home. Though your hired a city manager who is proposing license plate may be emblazoned with tax increases on meals, lodging and “California” in scarlet cursive or South real estate for the next four years in a Carolina’s palmetto and crescent budget council member Jeff Hegelson moon, you’ll be driving on Lynchburg calls “bad economic policy.” highways until graduation — driving Senators and presidents don’t care to your favorite local businesses over 188-year-old water pipes on the verge about these things.
of bursting and past and around road construction improving passage into downtown. Think of the money you spend here: the 6.5 percent sales tax you pay for a flat white at 5th Street Grind; the 56 cents audiences give to the city when they buy a ticket to a show at the Tower Theater — general sales tax; parking fees and, if the first is done incorrectly, parking tickets. (Should the proposed budget be approved by city council in an upcoming May vote, expect to shell out a little extra.) All of this money goes to the city, and our out-of-pocket-out-of-mind mentality when it comes to spending hinders our ability to realize that, to an extent, we can control how the money is used by who we elect to use it. Some of you, whether you realize it or not, will fall in love with the area and stay. You will find your spouse, a cute house on College Hill, a good job. You will build your family here. That’s when voting becomes a bigger investment — investing in a quality of life for not just you, but your children. Maybe even your children’s children. The baby-boomered Commonwealth of Virginia is aging, but Lynchburg is in retrograde; the city was hemorrhaging people twenty years ago, and now, it’s growing both bigger and younger. According to the 2012 census, the median age of the Hill City has dropped from 35 to 30. Less than a fifth of Lynchburg residents are over 60. When it comes to building the future of this city, it is the voice of the Millennial that is needed, but it is the voice of the Millennial that is going unheard.
VENCE is an opinion writer.
Embracing everyone Autism awareness is not enough — we need autism acceptance Christianne Gormley firstname.lastname@example.org
With this month being National Autism Awareness Month, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network and more autism acceptance organizations are pushing towards celebrating the acceptance of autistic people this year, rather than simply being aware of their existence. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, “Awareness is knowing something exists and understanding a situation or subject based on facts or experiences.” Acceptance, however, is the act of agreeing to a person’s belonging in a group as an equal. People should recognize the significance between autism awareness and autism acceptance because being aware focuses on knowing the symptoms of autism rather than calling people to action. In an article posted by the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, one woman wrote that awareness seeks to highlight and emphasize the differences be-
tween those who are autistic and those who are not. She said that acceptance looks at the commonalities between autistic people and non-autistic people and celebrates the strengths they have to empower and encourage diversity. Accepting autistic people means accepting the gifts they contribute to the community and accepting them for who they are as people, rather than defining them based on their condition. Paula Dubin Westby, organizer of the first Actual Autism Acceptance celebrations, said that most autism awareness campaigns give the wrong message about autistic people. She said that the autistic condition is highlighted in most of these campaigns as something exclusively bad with the ultimate goal of eliminating autism. Unlike Autism Awareness Month, Westby wrote on her blog that Autism Acceptance Month focuses on accepting autistic people’s communication differences, their different ways of seeing the world, their IQ levels and more symptoms that make a person autistic. Autism Speaks, an organization that provides solutions and acceptance for
people with autism, said autism refers to a range of unique strengths and differences characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication caused by different combinations of genetic and environmental influences. Acceptance does not only mean accepting the ways autistic individuals do things, but also initiates action that promotes inclusiveness for them in everyday life. Westby said ways people can show acceptance towards autistic people is making adjustments that allow them to easily access places and events and respecting how they think and working with how they see the world. By accepting these individuals for who they are and doing what we can to include them, others must realize that it is their differences that communicate and empower love for neurodiversity and diversity in general. John Elder Robison, author of “My Life with Asperger’s,” wrote in a Psychology Today article that neurodiversity is believing that people with these differences do not need to be cured but helped and accommodated, instead. Being autistic himself, Robinson said he realized the importance of reminding others of neurological equity and equality without altering the essence of the person. Accepting autistic people is not conforming them to fit into society, but it is embracing the qualities that autistic people have. It is another thing to recognize the differences between them than to actually act upon showing these people we care about them. Autism acceptance starts with making a conscious effort in letting autistic individuals know that we as a nation are not only aware that they exist, but also want to celebrate their strengths, who they are and what they contribute to society by loving them, despite everyone’s personal differences.
EMBRACE — A new movement hopes to destigmatize those with autism by focusing on their strengths rather than their weaknesses.
GORMLEY is an opinion writer.
D O A R A WA 4
F A O A R A M L L A WI A 4
Will Young email@example.com
As both the Capitals and the Wizards make less-than-promising starts to their sure-to-be-short playoff appearances, I once again find myself sinking into the bottomless pit of disappointment and dejection that I have become more than accustomed YOUNG to in the past 22 years as a Washington, D.C. sports fan. For those of you who are not familiar, Washington has four professional sports teams — the Redskins, Nationals, Capitals and Wizards (we’re not counting the MLS here). None of those four teams have won a championship in their respective leagues since I have been alive. The last time any D.C. sports team won a championship was in 1992, when the Redskins won their third Super Bowl. The Capitals have never won a Stanley Cup, and the Nationals have yet to even appear at a World Series. The last time the Wizards won the finals was in 1978, when they were called the Bullets. When counting for the cities across the country that, like D.C., have teams in the NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA, there is no city, other than Minneapolis, which has a longer championship drought. I point out all of this to say that it’s not easy to be a dedicated fan to any team, let alone four, that have responded to so much opportunity in the playoffs with complete and unadulterated, paralyzing failure. Still, I call myself a D.C. sports fan to this day, despite the tremendous temptation to jump ship and bandwagon with a winning program. With every playoff season, I watch along, hanging on by a thread of championship hope, only to see that hope be deflated like a soccer ball in a hydraulic press. As I write this, I cannot help but to look back to the most bitter endings to D.C. sports during my lifetime: the 2012 NLDS, where the Nationals were one strike away from advancing to the NLCS against the Cardinals but blew it; the 2012 NFC Wild Card game, where RGIII tore his ACL for good at the end of a brutal loss to the Seahawks; last year’s NHL Eastern Conference second round, where the Capitals made a series comeback to force game seven only to be shutout and sent home. At the very least, being a D.C. sports fan has taught me about loyalty and unconditional love; perhaps there are some life lessons in that. Being a sports fan to a losing program has given me an immeasurable amount of emotional durability; I am not quite sure if non-sports fans quite understand the duress of seeing something you love so dearly continuously let you down. And like all fans, I know at the bottom of my heart that there is nothing I can personally do to fix this problem. I have found that in my life, I tend to be a very controlling person; I like to tackle problems on my own. But I cannot call up Bruce Allen and tell him what I think the Redskins should do in the upcoming draft (if you’re reading this, Bruce, we need a linebacker), so I am becoming increasingly aware of how difficult it is to internalize my teams’ playoff woes. In this way and many others, attaching myself to D.C.’s losing sports program has shaped who I am today. Sure, being a fan has probably hardened me to the bitter sting of life’s disappointments, but it also has pushed me to be patient and not as susceptible to the various pitfalls of life. I now truly know I can face any storm in my life because I have already endured loss in hardships in this cyclical and unforgiving world of sports fandom. It has given me a sense of brotherhood and family, where I can at least commune with my fellow D.C. sports fans who feel the same hard blows that I do every year. And still, after all that has happened, I linger on to a bit of hope yet again. Assuming I live a long and healthy life, I figure that I will experience one championship, that one of my teams will finally bring home a trophy to the district. And if not, then I blame my parents, who chose to raise me up in a D.C. suburb rather than in Boston, Pittsburgh or somewhere else where championships are expected of their sports programs.
YOUNG is the editor-in-chief.
Liberty Champion | April 17, 2018 | A5
Emerging era of Trump More GOP lawmakers stepping down, indicating the changing face of the party Elizabeth Lapp firstname.lastname@example.org
When Speaker of the House Paul Ryan announced his retirement on April 11, it not only sent shock waves through the Republican Party and across Capitol Hill, it also highlighted an increasing trend of Republican lawmakers who are choosing not to seek reelection this year. For the most part, these law makers consist of supporters of Reaganomics who have been critical of President Donald Trump for his foreign and economic policies. The Party of Reagan was known for its limited government and free trade policies that focused on promoting economic prosperity. However, President Trump’s focus has been on implementing nationalist and protectionist policies, as demonstrated by the ongoing trade-war with China and the passage of a massive spending bill. Already this year, an astounding 40 Republicans have announced that they will be leaving the House of Representatives, shattering the previous retirement record of 28 Democrats in 1994. While 13 of these lawmakers are running for another office, the majority have decided to call in an early retirement. These retirements reflect the changing face of the Republican Party under Trump. The party is losing many of its moderate mem-
bers, as they have grown tired of being ignored by a president whose policies they also have to defend to constituents. A study by the Hoover Institute found that an increasing number of voters do not differentiate between a political candidate and the national politics of their party. The nationalization of House and Senate races has been on the rise since 1996. What this ultimately means is that constituents care less about the voting record of their elected officials and more about the narrative of the national party. Because of this, retiring lawmakers like Pennsylvanian Congressman Charlie Dent have cited a reluctance to continue defending Trump’s policies and tweets to the public as the reason for their retirement. “This campaign cycle, 2018, will simply be a referendum on the president,” Dent said in an interview with National Public Radio. “We’ll be talking about him and his latest tweet or comment or an incendiary remark or whatever. So, you’re really not speaking about or talking about major issues.” The focus on statements made by the president rather than the policies of the candidate alienates those who differ from the president and are critical of his actions. Many of these moderate Republicans such as Rodney Frelinghuysen and Frank LoBiodo from New Jersey voted against the Republi-
can Party on a variety of legislation ranging from the former President Barack Obama’s health care law repeal to the most recent spending bill. Others, such as Tennessee Representative John Duncan Jr. support a non-interventionist foreign policy and have been critical of Trump’s handling of North Korea and the Middle East. For these representatives, an election would have meant defending Trump’s policies and behavior at the expense of their personal beliefs. On the other hand, standing by their personal views and continuing to criticize Trump is liable to alienate his supporters and affect voter turnout on election day. Thus, the House members are currently faced with three scenarios — where they either stick to their ideals and lose the race, are reelected but have no real power in Congress due to their unwillingness to support Trump or they trade in their policies and join the party of Trump. During the 2016 election, Ryan supported Trump in his race against then democratic-candidate Hillary Clinton in the hopes of retaining his speakership and winning giving Republican Party to the White House. However, after two years of controlling both branches of Congress and the White House, Ryan is no doubt frustrated with the ineffectiveness of Congress and its inability to pass the legislation promised on the
STEPPING DOWN — Speaker of the House Paul Ryan announced his retirement April 11 after 20 years serving in the House. campaign trail. Ryan ran for Congress on a free-market, limited government platform with the goal of reducing taxes, government spending and removing tariffs to promote free trade. While he was successful in securing the passage of tax cuts, he also helped to increase government spending and watched as Trump engaged in a trade war with China. With Ryan’s retirement, the GOP that was focused on promoting free trade, reduced regulations and cuts to government spending
is coming to an end. As the party shifts its priorities, Republicans are also expected to lose a large number of House seats to Democrats in the fall diminishing, and potentially eliminating, their current 24-seat majority. House elections come around every two years and every time the majority is up for grabs. While control of the House might be fleeting, the impact that Trump has left on the Republican Party will be felt for many years to come. LAPP is the opinion editor.
New arms(less) race How stricter gun legislation and gun-free zones put you in more danger Clayton Dykstra email@example.com
The rationality of gun-free zones is again under fire after the shooting in gun-free YouTube headquarters of San Bruno, California, on April 3 and from new murder statistics released by London’s Metropolitan Police. It should be. New data is showing that London’s murder rate is topping New York City’s, as homicide numbers for February and March are 32 in NYC and 37 in London. London, now with a handgun ban, has had a surge in knife killings, though
NYC’s 2018 murder total is still above its U.K. counterpart. The rationale of gun-free zones is to eliminate gun violence within them, but the exact opposite has become reality. People with the intent to kill are going to do so with or without a firearm. “No Guns Allowed” signs are interpreted as “No One will Shoot Back” to persons with the intent to kill. It is only rational to ban firearms in zones where this rule can be appropriately enforced. Some examples of this are the White House, courtrooms, places of interrogation and sections of military bases.
These make sense because none are true gun-free zones; there are still armed persons present. It is not rational to ban firearms in an area where the rule cannot be appropriately enforced such as a school or environments such as the YouTube headquarters. Without a detection system or authorized persons to immediately respond to a threat, people within these zones do not have a proper means of defense and have otherwise set themselves up to be easy targets. This reasoning translates into large regions of banned firearms, like today’s London. Law enforcement cannot reasonably be
SAFETY — While common outside of schools and government buildings, London’s murder levels show that establishing universal gun-free zones is unlikely to improve public safety.
expected to patrol every complex, street and building to immediately respond to a threat. Not even in a strict authoritarian dictatorship is this viable. Gun-free zones are open season to those who can acquire a firearm. Ninety-eight percent of mass shootings happen in gun-free zones, according to the Crime Prevention Research Center. This should not be surprising, considering the faulty logic behind such a ridiculous solution. Recall the Chattanooga, Tennessee, shooting at the gun-free military recruitment center and US Naval facility where four Marines were murdered because they were unable to defend themselves on American soil. Recall the Aurora, Colorado, shooting where 12 were killed and 58 were injured by gunfire because no one was there to shoot back. There is no rationality in gun-free zones such as these — people in these areas have too minimal means of defending themselves. “I didn’t have a gun on me, but I wish I did,” a local resident from the YouTube headquarters area said. Blindness and ignorance cause people to blame responsible gun owners for these tragic shootings. The evidence is apparent after any shooting is publicized. “Ban guns, ban the NRA, and never vote for Republicans. All three made this possible,” Abe Hassan, a Google employee present at the time of the Youtube headquarters shooting, tweeted.
Anti-gun activists who try to take guns away from everyone only end up taking guns away from lawful gun owners. What they should be doing is making them less accessible to the ones who do not obtain them legally. The rationality of gun-free zones should be important to any educational institution, especially ones like Liberty University. Unlike the majority of post-secondary institutions, Liberty allows for students to carry concealed weapons anywhere on campus, provided they have a concealed carry license and receive approval from the Liberty University Police Department. This right to bear arms needs to be exemplified, as Liberty is one of the safest colleges in the nation. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Utah is the only state that names public colleges and universities as public entities that do not have the authority to ban concealed carry weapons. Schools do not have the resources to respond to a threat within seconds, but they can if there is a student or faculty member in every classroom with that capability. Certain zones should be clear of firearms if, and only if, there is a means of lethal authority present that is able to respond to any threat within seconds. That is the only way people can feel safe and be safe. DYKSTRA is an opinion writer.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR POLICIES & INFO PHOTOGRAPHY
Jacob Buwalda photography editor
Deanna Drogan social media manager
Jordan Jarrett feature editor
Max Loth asst. photography editor
Lillian Abbatacola web manager
Sarah Jackson copy editor
Emily Smith copy editor
Josiah Pierce graphic designer
Leah DePiero contributing editor
Sarah Keller graphic designer
Will Young editor-in-chief
TJ Davis sports editor
Nathaniel Haywood graduate assistant
Logan Smith asst. sports editor
CONTENT Jack Panyard news editor Erin Covey asst. news editor Elizabeth Lapp opinion editor
ADMINISTRATION Deborah Huff faculty advisor Matt Pierce advertising director
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A6 | April 17, 2018 | Liberty Champion
MEET THE STUDENT BODY PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES The Student Government Associationâ€™s election for the 2018-2019 student body president and vice president will be held on Friday, April 20. Over the past several weeks, the campaigns have presented their platforms to students, presenting their ideas and vision for the school.
Caleb Fitzpatrick & Esther Lusenge
Jacob Page & Derek Rockey
AJ Strom & Chris Porter
To help you learn more about the candidates on the ticket, each campaign asked a supporter to write an editorial on the candidates and why they should be elected. Donâ€™t forget to come to the presidential debate on Thursday, April 19, from 7-9 p.m. in DeMoss Hall room 1284.
Many student body presidents begin their campaigns and times in office with good intentions and promises of what theyâ€™ll do in the coming months. But by the end of the school year, it often seems that little has been accomplished, or at least, little that matters. Itâ€™s no wonder so many of us are cynical about student government. But it is for this reason that I am so passionate about Caleb Fitzpatrick and Esther Lusengeâ€™s campaign â€” because I truly believe in the difference they desire to make and have seen first-hand in the lives they have positively impacted. Iâ€™m not involved in SGA; politics kind of scare me, and I never thought Iâ€™d be on a campaign team. But immediately after hearing Caleb and Estherâ€™s Christ-centered vision for the student body and the Lynchburg community, I knew this was something I needed to be part of. Whatâ€™s amazing to me is that people are already feeling a change. Regardless of whether Caleb and Esther win, students have ex-
pressed feelings and have been heard and welcomed to the table. Our campaign team speaks volumes to this because of the ethnically, politically and spiritually diverse group of people that are working together to make change happen. To be honest, I donâ€™t agree with everyone on the team about every single issue, and I love that because diversity of thought challenges and prompts us to think further about what we believe and helps us to be more compassionate toward one another. For those of us who do not feel marginalized or oppressed, thatâ€™s great. But if we claim to love Jesus, we need to be concerned about those who are hurting because they donâ€™t feel equally represented or heard. Caleb and Esther believe that, in order for students to feel safe expressing their spiritual, political or other views, we need to cultivate an atmosphere where students feel they can come and share their hearts and minds. As the body of Christ, we should be in-
vested in the burdens of those around us, so just because you or I may not feel oppressed, it doesnâ€™t mean that our brother or sister can say the same. Itâ€™s time to allow that brother and sister in the room to speak. If youâ€™re jaded about SGA and politics in general, I get it. But I urge you to reflect this week on what bothers you, about the impact you want to see in this school and the community around it, and then vote. Donâ€™t vote because you are friends with the candidate or because the T-shirt design is cool. Vote because the candidateâ€™s platform and vision inspire and resonate with you. Vote for Caleb and Esther, not just because of the change theyâ€™ve promised, but because of the change theyâ€™ve already made.
Jacob Page may be nothing more than a person running for student body president to you, but to me, heâ€™s a great friend. Weâ€™ve had long talks about our doubts, fears and dreams of the future: â€œWhat does God want to do with my life? How can I leave a lasting legacy?â€? I know more than the talking points about Jacob Page and Derek Rockeyâ€™s campaign; I actually know Page and Rockey. So, let me introduce you to them. Once you live with someone, you see the best and worst sides of them. Are they prideful? Are they gossips? Are they entitled? None of those words come to mind when I think of Page. He has big dreams for our school, but he knows that nobody can have an enduring legacy without having deep integrity. His love for God and Godâ€™s people is on display for all to see. The people who know him best are the ones who talk highly of him. Page is more than a man with good ideas; heâ€™s a man
who walks humbly with his God. I did not have the privilege of knowing Rockey before the campaign, but because I live with Jake, I have seen Rockey multiple times a day for the past month or so. I started to get to know him and was quickly impressed. Did you know that Rockey is the current sophomore class president? You might remember that he made a promise last year to attend every Lynchburg City Council meeting so that he could hear the needs of our city and connect them with the resources of our university. Rockey kept his promise, and he has has a good reputation with our city leaders because he consistently asks, â€œHow can we serve you?â€? Page and Rockey are always talking about â€œhaving a vision that you can see.â€? Theyâ€™re not content with throwing around the buzz words you typically hear from campaigns. They want to utilize the lawn space in front of the Montview Student
Center. Why not have our cookouts there before football games? And why not get the marching band to change their route to march right through the middle of the madness? They also want to be salt and light to the city of Lynchburg. Thanks to the already-established relationships they have, Page and Rockey will make Campus Serve and Serve Lynchburg even better! Page and Rockey arenâ€™t just two of my friends. They are two leaders I want to represent me to both the school and the Lynchburg community. Letâ€™s vote on April 20 for Page and Rockey!
In my three years at Liberty, I have seen SGA do little for the majority of students here. From the outside, the association looks like a bunch of government majors playing Congress in an effort to burn the Liberty Way to the ground. The importance of this election is underestimated, as the ticket holds three highly contrasting campaigns: A French Revolution, Pi Kappa Phi and the AJ and Chris administration. This is how I saw SGA until AJ and Chris asked me to be a part of their team. My view of SGA changed because working with AJ Strom and Chris Porter â€” two very motivated and honest guys â€” showed me that SGA can be something so much more than its reputation allows for. AJ and Chris want SGA to continue to be a Christian Service opportunity â€” but one where the rules of SGA are fully implemented and not ignored, where the sub-standard qualifications for the CSER
hours are upped. AJ and Chris have the humility to not force an agenda down the throats of students in a commanding way, but to open up lines of communication so that any and every Liberty student, not just popular ones, can feel comfortable approaching their delegate to ask for change. While the structure for this to happen may be in place, it is not being implemented. The AJ and Chris campaign has been the only campaign to concretely say this is a part of their mission. AJ and Chris want to work for the students at Liberty and with the administration. This has already been seen in how AJ pursued the alcohol resolution earlier this year. When the administration said no, AJ went back to the drawing board on behalf of the students and tried to work with the administration on the idea. If I could sum up my work with AJ and Chris, it is about honesty. They are hon-
est with their team, and I donâ€™t feel like I have to overlook skeletons in their closets. They want true accountability between students and their SGA delegates, to put the power in the hands of the students to create change. They truly want the absolute best and most for Liberty students; this isnâ€™t a popularity contest. SGA is not Student Activities or the Center4ME. SGA is an avenue for students to be heard, and making SGA into the likes of another office strips each office of its due power. This is why I will be voting in my first SGA presidential and vice-presidential election, because AJ and Chris want change to come by the hands of the students in an honest and structured way.
LIVE. LEARN. LEAD.
DAVE RAMSEY RONALD REaGAN
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LEXY RUTT is an interdisciplinary studies major and the director of videography for Caleb and Esther's campaign.
NATHAN FARLEY is a biblical studies major and is a volunteer for Jacob and Derek's campaign.
LILLIAN ABBATACOLA is a journalism major, web editor for the Champion and the campaign manager for AJ and Chris.
Liberty Champion | April 17, 2018 | A7
Downtown meter meetings Lynchburg City Parking Management to potentially add more paid parking Bethany Kocik firstname.lastname@example.org
A meeting was held by Lynchburg City Parking Management Thursday, April 12, to discuss its proposal of instituting paid downtown parking to deal with the limited parking availability in the downtown area of the city of Lynchburg. During the meeting, David Malewitz, the parking manager for the city of Lynchburg, discussed the need for more parking and better parking enforcement in the downtown area, specifically in the areas around the Jefferson Street businesses, as the area continues to grow and attract more visitors. “Our goal is to make sure (parking) is available,” Malewitz said. “When (visitors) come here to visit businesses and shop and dine that they come find a good place to park that is easy and convenient to where they want to go and have a great time.” According to Malewitz, around 900 new residential units have been built in downtown Lynchburg in the last five years, in addi-
tion to many new restaurants and businesses. This, coupled with time limits on parking currently not being enforced, makes it difficult for downtown visitors to find parking, according to Malewitz. Currently, Malewitz said there are 16 public lots for a total of 1,573 parking spots that are available for anyone to park in for free, in addition to free street parking. According to the proposal that Malewitz laid out in the meeting, the proposed changes to downtown parking in the Jefferson Street area would include paid spaces within the lots with rates being $.25 for the first hour, $1 each additional hour and a $5 maximum parking fee for the entire day. Parking on the street would continue to be free for two hours with stricter enforcement on time limits. The specific parking areas that will be affected by the new paid parking policy will include the parking areas by Riverfront Park, the parking area by the Waterdog and the parking area by Depot Grill. The paid parking will only be
enforced Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., while keeping nighttime parking and weekend parking free to visitors, according to Malewitz’s proposal. The proposal also explained that residents and business would begin to pay for the parking they use in the downtown area. Residents would pay $25 per month for their parking permits and businesses would be paying $40 per month for each parking permit. Malewitz explained that parking management, overall, strives for consistency over time in the paid policy program downtown, if the proposal is accepted when the board brings the proposal to the parking authority meeting in June. “The goal is to have off-street paved parking cheaper and more expensive on-street parking,” Malewitz said. “Hopefully, as we get better at this, and if paid parking comes into fruition, we will have rates that people know and can pay.” According to Malewitz, if the current proposal gets approved by the city council, paid parking
VINES continued from A1
Photo Provided PLANS — Concept art for the Liberty Arena shows the scope and aesthetics of the new building.
“This new arena will be laid out for both sporting and events in mind, (and) the largest difference between the new and existing arena is the collapsible seating,” Deter said. “The front rows of the new arena will retract to have much more flat floor area for different events. With the seats fully retracted, we can do two cross-court basketball courts, three volleyball courts or a full convention
will be instituted in the downtown area by late October or early November 2019. Malewitz explained that the top objective of Lynchburg City Parking Management is to make visiting the downtown Lynchburg area easy and enjoyable.
“We are Lynchburg. We are becoming a great place to be, a lot of people are coming here and want to be a part of what we have here,” Malewitz said. KOCIK is a news reporter.
Jack Panyard | Liberty Champion PAYING UP — Lynchburg City Parking Management proposed that the city charge for parking on Jefferson Street at a public meeting.
event, where max floor area is beneficial.” According to Deter, underground utilities will need to be moved for the construction of the new arena. Students’ day-to-day lives during construction of the arena, especially regarding Convocation, will be mostly unaffected, according to Deter. “Convocation will be unaffected, as the new area is separate from the (existing) arena,” Deter said. “The buildings do touch each
other, but they are separate venues. The area between DeMoss and the Vines Center will be mostly closed, and there will be no parking in this area. Students will still have access from the East Campus (tunnel) to the (Jerry Falwell Library) and (the) Montview.” The new arena, according to Deter, was strategically placed to make it easier for students to enjoy sporting events during their time at Liberty and attend the other events held at the arena. “We believe that having
the new Liberty Arena adjacent to the Vines Center keeps it in the heart of campus,” Deter said. “We evaluated other sites, and while they may have been easier to construct, they would not have been in this desirable location. We want to make sure that our students have easy access to the new arena and that they all come to support the Flames.”
KOCIK is a news reporter.
A8 | April 17, 2018 | Liberty Champion
Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium highlights notable projects Will Evans email@example.com
This past weekend, April 1314, Liberty University hosted the 8th Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium. BigSURS showcases the work of undergraduate students who have conducted research in a number of academic fields throughout the Big South Conference and Region 2000 institutions. Students were greeted Friday in the Center for Worship Concert Hall by a gospel rendition of “You are the Everlasting God” by gospel choir LU Praise, followed by a short welcome from Liberty Provost Ron Hawkins.
“You’re a little bit like salt and light,” Hawkins said. “If we don’t have young, inquiring and curious minds looking at problems … then we don’t have the world that you want to have.” Afterwards, participating students from Liberty and other Big South universities gave oral presentations on the research they have conducted for a small panel of judges. Research topics were widespread, including presenters in the fields of history, philosophy, biology, psychology, art and music, to name a few. Blake Davis, a pre-law student at Liberty University, gave a presentation on his research into the 1807 treason trial of Aaron Burr.
Jessie Rogers | Liberty News Service FLAMES IN ACADEMIA — Awards were given to the best presentations.
Davis explained that historians for the past two centuries have depicted Aaron Burr in a negative light, and Burr’s alleged treasonous actions are nothing more than conspiracy theories. “Research is all about pursuing a better version of the truth,” Davis said. “We know the base outline of history, but sometimes you have to go back and look at the actual details.” Caleb Brown, another Liberty student studying philosophy, gave a presentation highlighting the ethical value of the Affirmative Action program. He argued that by using Aristotle’s Virtue Ethics, we can view Affirmative Action in a way that everybody can agree on. “I think it’s a topic that not a lot of people have given thought about,” Brown said. “And, in reading some of the literature, I thought that I could make a contribution and provide some new insight.” After taking some questions from the judges, Brown gave his unique perspective on the value of research. “It’s kind of like getting to cheat,” Caleb Brown said. “You’re getting the Sparknotes on what a bunch of different people have learned.” Friday afternoon, BigSURS held an art exhibition showcasing the work of student artists in the Jerry Falwell Library. Campbell University student Mathew Thompson displayed his pencil drawing of Scarlett Johansson that he created by using an art
Jessie Rogers | Liberty News Service PRESENTATIONS — In both BigSURS and Research Week, students presented their research in a variety of ways. technique called grid method. “You essentially have this ‘Battleship’ checker board to see where the crucial lines and details intersect a coordinate line,” Thompson said. “It helps you break up the canvas into much easier pieces to draw out.” In the following award ceremony, Liberty junior Yesenia De La Cruz took first place in both the 2-D and 3-D art categories, tying for first in the 2-D and winning the 3-D for her sculpture “Head of Eji Makoto.” After Friday’s events, students were treated to evening activities at the Snowflex Center, the Montview Bowling Alley and the LaHaye Ice Center.
Saturday continued with more oral presentations and a poster session where students stood by poster presentations of their research and answered questions. The symposium ended with an address from Keynote Speaker Todd Zakrajsek, an associate research professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, on the impact of young researchers on society. “Research happens throughout our lives … we form good questions and then we investigate,” Zakrajek said. “What might be influenced from a future research project? I see no limits there.”
A week of student and faculty led projects showcases Liberty’s research prowess Samantha Tirado firstname.lastname@example.org
Liberty University’s Research Week that took place April 9-14 consisted of oral, poster and newly added performing arts presentations. The week closed Saturday with keynote speaker Todd Zakrajsek, associate professor and associate director of the Faculty Development Fellowship at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. This year, the performing arts contestants were permitted to perform in addition to presenting their research. There was a range of performances from piano playing to acting. “It was really neat to see a different type of presentation than we have ever had before,” Director for the Center of Research and Scholarship Elisa Rollins said. Rollins said she really
enjoyed seeing students be able to perform because it better displayed their research. Most of the students were paired with a faculty advisor and began their research in the fall of 2017. Keilah Soward took first for the textual or investigative category of research week last year and graduated from Liberty with a double major in English and history. “My English research was a ‘do whatever you want’ kind of assignment, which is kind of overwhelming for me. Dr. Towles really had to help guide me toward a topic. I sat in his office until we talked around my interests and finally narrowed it down,” Soward said. Rollins said she is proud to see the strides Liberty is making in becoming a research school by adding three general education research classes into its general education curriculum.
Joel Isimeme | Liberty News Service DISPLAY — Faculty and students were able to showcase their work during Research Week. Julia Rothenberger placed first in the creative and artistic category of the 2017 research week and is a junior at Liberty in the
Joel Isimeme | Liberty News Service DIAGRAM — Research Week drew participants from all fields of study.
School of Music’s artist development program “This semester, I took the new research 201 course, and I wish I would have been able to take the course before completing my first big research project,” Rothenberger said. “I really appreciate the fact that Liberty is trying to make their curriculum more research focused.” Soward wrote two research papers and did enough research to give three presentations. “I think Liberty did a great job equipping my departments with the best resources for quality research, from inter-library loans to online resources, they have a dedicated team that wants each student to succeed,” Soward said. “Overall, I was very pleased with the process.”
Soward said she was also impressed by the number of students that participated, the variety of research she saw and the unique talent each student displayed. “We just really want to encourage people to come and to participate,” Rollins said. “We have grown this year in our participation and energy, and we just want that to keep growing.” Keynote speaker Todd Zakrajsek closed out research week on Saturday to talk to students about the more widespread undergraduate research taking place in the country. “I think it would be a great opportunity for students to hear from somebody not at Liberty but who can share a message about what research is happening with undergraduate students overall,” Rollins said.
Rothenberger said she did not think there is anything Liberty could have done better to equip its students to produce quality research. “For students who may think, ‘Why should I come, or why should I participate?’, it is a great way to support your peers, and there is so much innovation and creativity that they can learn about and even just discover what is happening here at Liberty. There are a lot of really cool things going on that you do not always hear about,” Rollins said. “We encourage everybody to come for 2019 if you did not make it for 2018.”
TIRADO is a news reporter.
April 17, 2018
Kevin Manguiob | Liberty News Service
PUTTING IN THE WORK — The Liberty University football team and coaches gathered at midfield following a practice in front of spectators.
Spring training update Flames football preparing for inaugural season in the Football Bowl Subdivision “We were one of the only three to five schools across the country that started that early. So, therefore, we can invite recruits to come and watch us practice,” Gill said. Spring is a time for lesser-known players to make their mark. Coaches already know what they have in key players from the year before, but they are really looking for the roster to improve. “Depth is the number one thing that comes to your mind that you need to have,” Gill said. “You only have 63 scholarships at the FCS level; at the FBS level, you have 85 scholarships, so we’re gaining 22 more people.” One of the main reasons why Gill is not sweating the acclimation period, though, is because of his staff’s prior experience at the FBS level. “We have a great coaching staff here,” Gill said. “We’ve all been involved in the FBS. Everyone on the staff has coached at the FBS level, and that’s great for our fans to know that we have experienced people here that have been here and done that, and we understand what we need to do and how we need to do it. Now, we’re just going to transfer it over to our players.” As far as the key players that stood out
Jon Brienza email@example.com
With just a few months left before the start of fall camp, Liberty’s inaugural season in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) is now in sight. College football is a year-long process. In reality, games are just the culmination of all the hard work put in throughout the offseason. And one of the most crucial elements of the offseason is spring practice. This year, Liberty head coach Turner Gill took a different approach to the spring program because of the team’s impending introduction to the FBS. “We started about four to five weeks sooner,” Gill said. “On the back end, by us finishing early, it helped our studentathletes with their studies (and) their academics.” Starting earlier also gave Liberty other benefits, namely in regard to injuries and recruiting. Finishing a month sooner than normal is an attempt by Gill and his staff to hedge themselves in the event that the injury bug bites. It also means less competition in spring recruiting.
to the coaching staff during spring practice, Gill mentioned running back Frank Boyd in particular, who won the team’s award for most improved offensive player. “He ran the ball well, he did a good job there catching the football. (We’ve) still got a ways to go on some things, but he was the most impressive guy that we had,” Gill said. On the defensive side of the ball, defensive lineman Mitchell Hurtado and linebacker Remington Green put themselves on the radar. “(Hurtado) has really improved. He is definitely going to be a very, very impactful guy,” Gill said. “And Green ran very well, as far as to the football. He’s very physical, he’s going to help us on defense, he’s going to help us on special teams.” An ancillary benefit of Liberty making the transition to the FBS is the exposure the university, and its overlying message, will receive nationwide – a vision once held by the late Dr. Falwell. But it is Dr. Falwell’s son who has gone to great lengths in order to help make the transition happen, according to Gill. Ian McCaw, the athletic director, has been very involved with the football pro-
gram since he was hired, meeting with Gill face-to-face on a weekly basis – something Gill said he had not experienced in his time as head coach at Kansas or Buffalo. “We have a fantastic relationship. This is the first time that I’ve had the opportunity, really, weekly – again, sometimes it’s a 10-minute meeting; sometimes it might be a 30-minute meeting – but we’re just coming in and chatting about what’s going on. I appreciate his leadership,” Gill said. Because Liberty is entering its first season in the FBS, it is up in the air just how effective it will be in 2018, but Gill has a message for Flames fans he wants them to hear. “Our football team is going to play hard, they’re going to represent the Lord Jesus Christ very, very well,” Gill said. “We just ask the players to do that: you play hard, and you prepare hard, leave the results up to God.” Liberty will open up its 2018 season with the first-ever FBS game played at Williams Stadium on Sept. 1 against Old Dominion. BRIENZA is a sports reporter.
All aboard the Flame train Liberty baseball defeats Charleston Southern 9-1 Nathaniel Chambers firstname.lastname@example.org
Liberty Baseball won its fifth straight game during the second contest of a double header against Charleston Southern University Saturday, April 14. During the 9-1 victory over the Buccaneers, Flames fans were treated to a dominant pitching performance, a home run and a coach getting ejected. Noah Skirrow, a freshman who has made his eighth career start for the Flames, struck out eight and allowed just five baserunners in front of over 2,300 fans. “I’ve really firmed up my delivery and repeated it well, just being more consistent and staying with myself and not try-
ing to do too much is the biggest thing,” Skirrow said. This is the second straight impressive performance for Skirrow; he threw six shutout innings after giving up just two earned runs in his last start. “Noah’s been great the last two times out,” head coach Scott Jackson said. “I think Tre’s really helped him back there behind the plate; he steals a lot of pitches for him and I think Noah feels like he can really be aggressive with his slider cause Tre’s gonna keep it in front of him.” Jackson was referring to junior centerfielder Tre Todd, who also had a solid game and weekend. During the weekend, he went 8-of-11, including two home runs in game one of the double header. He also went 2-of-4 with a walk and a
grand slam in the second game, which totaled four RBIs. At the time of Todd’s home run, Liberty was up 5-0 after back-to-back bases loaded walks. Charleston Southern’s head coach Adam Ward was ejected after arguing the check swing call on Liberty’s Trey McDyre that caused the walk that made it 5-0. Right after the ejection, Todd came up and hit a no-doubter to give Liberty a 9-0 lead. “I thought our guys were really good with two strikes and moved some balls and got some big two-strike, two-out hits, and you know Tre Todd was unbelievable this weekend,” Jackson said. Joel Coleman | Liberty News Service
See TRAIN, B3 SAFE — Sophomore Cam Locklear slid toward second base.
WE’LL SEE YOU AT THE GAME
Softball vs. Virginia Tech April 17 @ 6 p.m.
Softball vs. CSU April 20 @ 6 p.m.
Softball vs. CSU April 21 @ 1 p.m.
Softball vs. CSU April 21 @ 3 p.m.
Baseball vs. Longwood April. 27 @ 6 p.m.
B2 | April 17, 2018 | Liberty Champion
Flames making a splash
Men’s swimming and diving places 13th out of 116 teams at nationals Peter Gooch email@example.com
events did not have a combined score as high as the Flames. Spencer said that the win gave his team a lot of momentum, but it was soon crushed by an unshakable opponent: the flu. Sickness affected many Flames swimmers and divers and outright prevented the participation of others at a meet at North Carolina State University Nov. 11-12.
Heading into the Collegiate Club Swimming and Diving National Championships, the Liberty Flames men’s swimming and diving team had endured an up- and-down season filled with a fair share of growing pains. But when the Liberty Flames men’s swimming and diving team entered the Georgia Tech arena for the Collegiate Club Swimming and Diving National Championships, none of it mattered. “There’s a whole journey that brought everyone to that point,” men’s head coach Parker Spencer said of the competition in Atlanta, Georgia, April 6-8. “We knew that was going to be the highlight of the year. It all boiled down to that weekend.” In an event featuring 116 teams and more than 2,000 swimmers from across the country, the Flames con— Head coach Parker Spencer cluded their inaugural season with a 13th-place finish in the men’s division won by Ohio State. Led by freshman Ethan Raub, who won “For some club sports, the goal of the the 400 individual medley, Liberty finished whole program is just to make it to the Na- in fourth place out of 13 men’s teams, but tional Championship,” Spencer said. “For the event was an overall disappointment for us to be able to go and beat out (so many) the swimmers. teams was good.” “That was probably a low point,” SpenMore than six months earlier, Liberty cer said. “It really hurt our momentum and men’s swimming and diving team com- we had to work hard to bounce back over peted in its first event at Old Dominion the winter.” University, where members decimated the The Flames were confronted with more five men’s teams they competed against. It adversity when some players decided to ended in resounding victory, signaling the leave the team over the break between fall beginning of a seesaw season of positives and spring semester. and negatives. “It became a challenge with the guys that With 707.5 points, Liberty was so domi- were here,” Spencer said. “Let’s see what nant at ODU’s fall invitational that even we can do as a first-year program, and if the schools who gained points in women’s those guys don’t want to be involved in it,
To build a team like we’ve built, it’s not just getting a bunch of guys together that like to swim. To do as well as we did, and to make it (to nationals) …I’m really proud of the guys that we brought. They came together as a team and gave it their best shot.
Gabe Henderson SUPPORT — Teammates embraced each other at the Club Swimming and Diving Nationals.
that’s their loss, not (ours).” With a regeneration of focus and determination, Liberty went to its next event at James Madison University in February and scored an impressive fourth place finish out of 14 schools, including the 2017 National Champion, the University of Virginia. Six weeks of practice later, Liberty headed to Nationals, where they were more than respectable for a first-year program. “It was good for them to really see what we were up against,” Spencer said. “Once we build this program up, we’ll really be ready to go and make something happen.” Building the program may not take as long as usual for the team. While Spencer said it takes most teams at least three years before they have legitimate national title chances, this swimming and diving squad may be ahead of schedule. “We have a really solid foundation now,” Spencer said. “I think we can go into next
year and already be ahead of that whole three-year process.” With mostly underclassmen on the 2017-2018 roster, the Flames hope to gain more experience moving forward to next season. “The first year is a big learning experience with a lot of learning curves,” Spencer said. When it came to the most important moment of the year, Liberty was able to show how far it had come. “To build a team like we’ve built, it’s not just getting a bunch of guys together that like to swim,” Spencer said. “To do as well as we did, and to make it (to Nationals) …I’m really proud of the guys that we brought. They came together as a team and gave it their best shot.”
GOOCH is a sports reporter.
BU Y 1 GET 1
A DM I S S ION DURING
WARM UPS — The Flames 200-yard medley relay team streched prior to their race.
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Liberty Champion | April 17, 2018 | B3
Crist on our side
Evangeline Crist sets Lady Flames tennis record with 91 singles wins Jacob Couch firstname.lastname@example.org
As the cool wind blew Evangeline Crist’s hair in front of her face Sunday, April 8, the crowd rose to its feet in applause, realizing the magnitude of her accomplishment. Crist just set the Liberty University Lady Flames record for the most singles tennis wins in school history, just one week after also breaking the doubles wins record. Whether through interactions with professors, interviewing with reporters or talking with teammates, Crist’s positivity, kindness and Christlike attitude are ap-
Kevin Manguiob | Liberty News Service
COMPOSURE — Crist eyed her target before launching a serve.
parent to everyone the Lady Flames senior tennis captain meets. Crist’s story began in Atlanta, Georgia, where she grew up as the youngest of eight siblings. Crist and her older brothers and sisters were all homeschooled until their eighth-grade year.
“Obviously, you do your homework in the morning and have a ton of time in the afternoon,” Crist said. “My mom was always adamant on (us) playing a sport and an instrument. Pick one thing to devote your time to and be engaged in.” Crist’s siblings decided that their hobby would be tennis. Crist went along with the family’s choice sport, not realizing what the future outcome would be. “That’s where I spent my time because all of my siblings were playing,” Crist said. “I would always follow along with them or watch them. From a young age, you just always have to figure out a way to hang with them. I picked up tennis from a very early age.” Due to Crist’s homeschooled status, she was able to have more tennis training time throughout middle school. Once Crist’s parents noticed their daughter’s natural talent and drive for the sport, they hired a personal coach for Crist before high school began. “(Tennis) came with so many challenges,” Crist said. “The time that I had to put into it, the sacrifices that I had to make with missing family events because of it.” Despite the struggles that Crist had to face while training, she understood from an early age that tennis would likely be her avenue into receiving a collegiate scholarship. “Our parents always tried to get us ready for college,” Crist said. “Whether that was getting involved (on) campus as an RA or playing sports and getting a scholarship through that.” Crist’s parents were limited on the financial assistance that they could offer their children because of how many they had. “Tennis was that opportunity for me, that door that could open,” Crist said. “But there were a lot of times where I was like, I don’t know if I love this. It’s so hard and I have to miss so much.” Crist persevered throughout her middle school years and eventually became a standout on her high school tennis team.
Joel Coleman | Liberty News Service FIERCE — Crist broke the singles win record with her 91st victory Sunday, April 8.
“We were by no means good at all,” Crist said. “But it was so much fun. It was the first time that I had been able to have something on my shirt that showed that I was playing for something greater.” Crist has grown accustomed to playing for something greater. Following a standout high school career at Providence Christian Academy in Atlanta, Georgia, Crist accepted a scholarship offer from the Flames. Crist’s career as a Flame has been nothing short of impressive, as the senior team captain now owns the Flames record for the most singles and doubles wins in Flames history. “It seems insane to say that I have records in both singles and doubles,” Crist said. “It still doesn’t seem real. But I think that a huge part of it was not thinking of myself.” COUCH is a sports reporter.
TRAIN continued from B1 The Flames drew five walks alone in a six-run sixth inning, and 10 total walks in the game. Liberty got on the scoreboard early after taking advantage of a rough outing from the Buccaneers pitchers. “For us to be able to jump out on their starters and then they go to their better guys out of the bullpen, and you know, we’ve got the lead, that certainly is a great feeling for us,” Jackson said. Liberty’s sweep over Charleston Southern improves their record to 22-12 and 10-5 in Big South play, which puts them in third place in the conference. “I’m ready to click off a few of these in a row because I felt like things were starting to fall into place for us, and so it’s a lot easier said than done, as we all know,” Jackson said. “But, yeah, five in a row, kind of gives a chance, like I said, to hopefully have some momentum that we can have going into what I think is a really important… maybe our toughest week of the year at Virginia and then High Point.” Liberty will return home for a series against Longwood starting on April 27 and will follow up that series with a game against Virginia Tech on Wednesday, May 2. CHAMBERS is a sports reporter.
Joel Coleman | Liberty News Service
SERVICE — Liberty celebrated Military Appreciation during game two of the doubleheader.
B4 | April 17, 2018 | Liberty Champion
A look at the Big South Preseason Pitcher of the Year Siani Null email@example.com
The Capitals are choking, Yankees fans are assuring their friends that this is their year and Gregg Popovich has every member of the media on edge. Ah yes, spring is in the air, and spring means playoff basketball. Here are my initial thoughts through game one of each matchup: DAVIS
- Congratulations to the Warriors on winning their third championship
in four seasons. - Does anybody else on the Cavaliers play basketball besides LeBron? - Lance Stevenson is a national treasure. - Are we sure Ben Simmons is a rookie? - Are we sure Donovan Mitchell is a rookie? - I wish I had one-tenth the confidence of JR Smith. - Derrick Rose still plays basketball?!? - Does Russell Westbrook get to wear whatever he wants because he’s the highest paid player in the league or because he’s averaged a triple double for three straight seasons? Or both? - Anthony Davis needs to be on the FBI’s most wanted list because there is no way a normal human being can be so incredibly dominant at basketball while simultaneously sporting a unibrow. - If I had a dollar for every weak foul called on James Harden, I could actually afford to shop at the school bookstore. - LeBron James’ big taste Sprite commercial needs to be stopped, and it needs to be stopped now. Now here are my predictions for each series: Spurs vs. Warriors (Warriors lead 1-0) Here is a list of people on the Spurs that can guard Kevin Durant: (Hint: nobody can guard Kevin Durant.) The Warriors are going to easily beat one of the bestcoached teams in the league without Steph Curry. Also ‘where in the world is Kawhi Leonard’ has a nice ring to it. Get your brooms folks; this is going to be a sweep. Heat vs. 76ers (76ers lead 1-0) TRUST THE PROCESS. Ben Simmons bullied the Heat without Joel Embiid; this should be an easy series for the Sixers. As much as I enjoy watching people fall for Dwayne Wade’s pump fakes, I don’t think the Heat can keep up with the talented young core of Philly. Sixers over Heat 4-2. Bucks vs. Celtics (Celtics lead 1-0) The Celtics have been overlooked coming into the playoff because they’ve lost Kyrie Irving for the season, but they’ve shown they are still in the running. If the Bucks want to take down the Celtics they have to find someone to take the workload off of the Greek Freak’s back. As Brandon Jennings once proudly said, Bucks in six. (4-2) Jazz vs. Thunder (Thunder lead 1-0) This is easily the best matchup of the first round. You’ve got two teams who shine defensively, but on the other end the Thunder thrive on their two stars (forgive me Melo), while the Jazz are led by a rookie and they play stellar team basketball. This matchup can easily go either way, but I’m taking the Jazz 4-3, and yes I picked the Jazz because I am a Ricky Rubio super fan. Wizards vs. Raptors (Raptors lead 1-0) (Insert DC sports joke here.) The Wizards are 3-10 in their last 13 games. They’ve gotten cold at the worst time possible. Here’s a fun fact for you: Otto Porter makes more than Anthony Davis, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Victor Oladipo, Kyrie Irving (I’m just going to stop here but just know there’s a lot more). The Raptors have an opportunity to be the team that gets to lose to the Warriors in the finals. Raptors 4-2 over the Wiz kids. Pelicans vs. Trailblazers (Pelicans lead 1-0) First off can we acknowledge how lame it is to have your team name be “the Pelicans?” Okay now that that’s out of the way, Anthony Davis cannot be contained and when Jrue Holiday plays to his potential then this team can do some damage. But you also can’t count out Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. I think the Pelicans defense will continue to overwhelm the Trailblazers – Pelicans over Rip City 4-3. Pacers vs. Cavaliers (Pacers lead 1-0) LeBron James had swept his past three opponents in the first round of the playoffs, but his past three opponents didn’t have Victor Oladipo. The Cavs had no answer to Oladipo in game one as he dropped 32 points, and meanwhile Lance Stephenson was head-butting the stanchion (before you look that up, it just means the base part of the hoop with the padding over it.) However, logic tells me I can’t bet against LeBron James en route to his eighth straight NBA finals, Cavaliers over the Pacers 4-2. Rockets vs. Timberwolves (Rockets lead 1-0) James Harden is this season’s MVP, regardless of how many weak foul calls he draws. But the Timberwolves have three all-star caliber players in Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Jimmy Butler, so they will definitely put up a good fight. Frankly this series comes down to stopping Harden, and his 44 points in game one seem pretty telling. Rockets over Timberwolves 4-3.
DAVIS is the sports editor.
Julia DiMartino has been a pitcher ever since she can remember. Now, as a junior on Liberty’s softball team, she is leveraging her remaining time as an opportunity to further Liberty’s program. “I look back and see that two years flew by and that I really only have one full season left after this one,” DiMartino said. “It’s crazy to see all the talent we have on this team and how far our team can go. It’s also mind-blowing how far our team has come within the last five years as a program.” This season, the Lady Flames currently post a 13-3 conference record and 33-12 overall record.
Joel Coleman | Liberty News Service
CONFIDENCE— DiMartino stepped up to the mound and prepared to lead the way for the Lady Flames.
DiMartino has played a significant part in Liberty’s success the past three seasons. In the 2018 season alone, she earned two Big South honors and was voted Big South Preseason Pitcher of the Year. Last year as a sophomore, she earned Big South Pitcher of the Year and became the second player in program history to be named Big South All-Conference first team as both a
freshman and sophomore. DiMartino entered her junior season ranked third in program history in career shutouts, eighth in career wins and ninth in career strikeouts. She said what drives her to play in college is knowing that she has worked her entire life to get to this point. “I love coming to the bullpen every day and seeing all of us pitchers get better and work hard to be the best we can be,” DiMartino said. “The thing I love most about it is that as a pitcher, you’re in control of the tempo of the game. You’re the battery.” Being the battery of the team does not come without the pressure of holding up the team, though. DiMartino Leah Seavers | Liberty News Service said she confidently views pressure as an opportunity to prove to the oppos- RECOGNITION — DiMartino has ing team that she can handle anything been named Big South Pitcher of the and to show that their pressure will not Week twice during the 2018 season. get to her. “I handle it by just throwing the way with you with softball, but our coaches I know how,” DiMartino said. care about us and treat us like their According to DiMartino, the team children. That’s who we play for!” has come a long way since she first The team’s next game will be against joined the roster, and its success Virginia Tech at home on Tuesday, stems from the team being centered April 17, at 6 p.m. on the Lord and the genuine care the “My mindset going into the rest teammates receive from the coaches. of the season, with just a handful of A picture of the team dynamic and regular season games and conference also one of DiMartino’s favorite mo- tournament left, is to get better each ments from this season was when the pitch,” DiMartino said. “I realize that team played UCLA in Cathedral City, we have nothing to lose, and the only California, Feb. 23. thing that’ll beat us is ourselves.” “Tori Zavodny collided with the Fans can support the Lady Flames right field fence and the whole team got in their 11 remaining games as they together and prayed for her and it was prepare for the Big South Conferjust beautiful,” DiMartino said. “I love ence Championships beginning May the way my team picks each other up 9 in Radford, Virginia. DiMartino said and the way we have fun.” each year she has been at Liberty the DiMartino said the coaching staff team steps it up even more. This year, trains them for life success beyond cir- she expects them to prove they are cumstances limited to the softball field. the best. The effort the coaches spend on their “Despite the outcome the last couathletes is beyond any coaching rela- ple years with coming short when in tionship she has experienced. the conference championship, I be“I love that our whole coaching staff lieve 110 percent that our team will loves Jesus just like I do, and they lead win it this year,” DiMartino said. by godly example to all of us,” DiMartino said. “They love the game just as much as us. Most coaches spend time NULL is a sports reporter.
Club shooting takes aim Liberty shooting team gains traction in inaugural year David Chhum firstname.lastname@example.org
After While visiting Liberty University during his son’s move-in last summer, club shooting head coach Dave Hartman noticed a lack of adequate shooting ranges for his son to train at. Hartman sent emails ask-
“I had a career back home, I was successful doing that. All I was doing at the moment was offering my services to give any information and help in that way from a long distance.” But then Hartman had a chance encounter by email with Kirk Handy, the director of Club Sports. They
Nate Haywood | Liberty Champion
READY, AIM, FIRE — Freshman Chloe Sterner carefully eyed down her target before pulling the trigger. ing when Liberty would be getting a shooting team, but his questions seemed to get nowhere. That is, until he sent another email saying he was going to be on campus. “My reason for asking was twofold,” Hartman said. “So that my son would have a team to shoot on, but number two — if there was going to be the start of a team, I was going to offer any of my contacts, anything that I knew that I could send this way to help with the formation of the team.” It was not long before Hartman received an email from the director of club sports, Kirk Handy, with an unexpected message. “I had no idea I’d be coaching it,” Hartman said.
met, and just an hour after parting ways, Hartman was given a call that Brad Butler, who works with Planning and Construction, wanted to meet with him.
“He told me he was going to ask Jerry (Falwell) for $1.5 million to build this range,” Hartman said. Several days later, he was notified that the $1.5 million proposal was shot down. They were instead receiving $3 million. They stayed in touch until Hartman came back during Thanksgiving Break. “A month later they offered me the position I have now,” Hartman said. “I saw I could have a positive influence on these kids, so I accepted.” In January, when most players decide where they are going to continue their shooting career, Hartman had a sense of urgency to recruit. “A lot of the seeds I started sowing were not just for kids coming this last year, but I was talking to kids as young as eighth graders,” Hartman said. Though late in the recruiting game, Hartman was hopeful that current Liberty students would be interested in joining. “I didn’t know what to think at the time,” Hartman
said of his early expectations for the team. “The season started very well. I was pleasantly surprised of the quality of the competitiveness of our athletes here. The one thing I can say about our entire group is that they are very eager and that they are very easy to train.” Hartman said that one of the biggest adversities the team faced throughout the season was weather. “Weather dictated the speed at which we built the range,” Hartman said. “(And) the speed at which the team was able to train.” However, the team is on an upward trend. This past fall, they competed in Division IV and will be going to Division III, depending on the size of the team. “It’s going to be a much more competitive arena,” Hartman said. “We have an opportunity to send people to the Junior Olympic Qualifiers and potentially to the Junior Olympics. That is a tangible goal now that we have this field.” CHHUM is a sports reporter.
Nate Haywood | Liberty Champion
PROGRESS — The Flames club shooting team finished second out of eight teams in Division IV in the All-American competition at the ACUI Collegiate Clay Target Championship.
Liberty Champion | April 17, 2018 | B5
Max Loth | Liberty Champion
A SMASH-HIT — Student band The P. Shermans performed a gutsy, stunning cover of “I Will Always Love You,” made famous by Whitney Houston in “The Bodyguard.”
On set with Coffeehouse “Coffeehouse: The Motion Picture” hosts student talent that honors classic films Sarah Jackson email@example.com
Lights, camera, motion picture! On a normal weekend at Liberty University, most college students are winding down by 11:30 p.m., but on the night of April 14, Coffeehouse: The Motion Picture, hosted by Student Activities, was just getting started. A highlights reel of iconic movie clips set the scene for Liberty students, who cheered in appreciation as their favorite lines flashed past in the Vines Center. The script for the evening included covers of popular songs from movies, short films spoofing classic flicks, dance numbers to well-remembered tunes and trivia games testing the audience’s cinematic smarts. Charlie Eivens, a recently-graduated psychology major from Liberty, sang “Footloose” as his swan song for Coffeehouse. The band has played together in the last three Coffeehouses under different names: LU2, The 1971 and, on Saturday night, Six Reps for Dancing. Eivens, with a total of seven Coffeehouse
performances under his belt, said performing is a completely different experience than just sitting in the audience. “It’s an opportunity that not a lot of people get, and if anyone has wanted to play in front of a massive amount of people, they get it through Coffeehouse,” Eivens said. “It’s awesome. It feels like you’re actually playing at your own concert for five minutes.” With Eivens graduated and the rest of the band on the brink of saying goodbye to Liberty, this Coffeehouse may be their last act together. Eivens said that, in the end, it is all about the performance and the audience response. “I hope with this, that they felt the groove of the song and they want to dance, because that’s what the song is all about,” Eivens said. Eivens had the audience tapping their toes and cheering him on as he danced and spun his way through the number. Near the climax of the song, Eivens ditched the microphone for a pair of drumsticks and joined the drummer, crashing his way to the final lines. Act after act attempted to keep the hype going. A short film parody of National Trea-
sure, during which lead actor Sam Cooper channeled his inner Nicolas Cage, left the audience in stiches. Other acts, like the cover of “Where Is My Mind?” from the movie Fight Club, struck a more intense note. D-Trex Dance Crew, one of the final performances of the evening, meshed movies with one of on-campus students’ favorite activities: open dorms. Their performance followed an evening at open dorms watching movies, where the dance troupe “flicked through” various films. The dance routine included remixes of songs and scenes from movies like “The Lion King,” “Mean Girls” and “High School Musical” before open dorms officially came to an end. Shania Thorpe-Freytiz, a senior and the team captain of D-Trex, has participated with the hip-hop group in every Coffeehouse since her freshman year. Though being in a larger group means fewer moments in the spotlight, Thorpe-Freytiz said performing onstage is still a surreal experience. “It’s a Hannah Montana moment, because we walk around and no one knows us, but as soon as we get on stage and they say our name there’s a roar of audience, and we’re
just overwhelmed because we feel like Beyoncé,” Thorpe-Freytiz said. “But we know those five minutes on stage are the only moments we’re going to get the praise, and as soon as we get offstage we’re back to Miley Cyrus.” Thorpe-Freytiz has never been just an audience member at Coffeehouse, but love for the iconic night is felt backstage, too. “(Coffeehouse is about) hearing a band singing their favorite song from a movie, seeing us dance to a song that they love from a movie, and just getting that nostalgic feeling of watching it onstage again,” Thorpe-Freytiz said. Credits rolled, and bleary-eyed students staggered back to their dorms, humming theme songs and reliving their favorite acts. Nothing was on their minds but their pillows and, perhaps, an idea for next year’s performance. End scene.
JACKSON is a copy editor.
One smile at a time, the student-led movement tackles campus loneliness
Leah DePiero firstname.lastname@example.org
For most people, class assignments are a part of school that they work on, submit and put little thought into once they receive a grade back. For AnnaClaire Schmiedel, a social good project she developed for her Graphic Design II class turned into a movement with the potential to spark discussion across Liberty’s campus. “We had to pick an issue that we’re passionate about or that we feel could be targeted to a very specific actionable campaign, and I thought about that for a bit and came up with the idea of loneliness on campus, because I feel like on campus it’s very easy to feel alone even when you’re surrounded by people,” Schmiedel said. “It’s a conversation actually that I had with (my friend Abby Brewer) a couple months ago that sparked the idea and I thought, ‘What can we do to not even just raise awareness about this but start a conversation about it?’” According to Schmiedel, the answer came in the Oh Hello Movement, which seeks to “fight loneliness one ‘Hello!’ at a time.” Schmiedel received the idea for the movement after her friend Brewer texted her one night, asking her how often she felt lonely as a college student and sent her a devotional she had written over Thanksgiving break for a life group she belonged to. “(While talking to the Lord) I kind of realized, thinking about loneliness in particular, that if (loneliness is) something I’ve dealt with in the past, there’s no way I’m the only one,” Brewer, who manages the Oh Hello Movement’s social media, said. “My gut feeling is that everyone has dealt with it, but
no one wants to talk about it because to talk about it is to put yourself out there in a way that you feel like you’ll be sympathetically included the next time.” Inspired by Brewer’s devotional, Schmiedel worked on the project in her class and showed the results to Brewer over dinner on the night of Monday, April 9, of this year. Brewer encouraged her to take the extra step and make the project a reality. “After seeing all of the materials and all of the thought she’d put into it, I was like, ‘You need to do this; you have to do this as a little bit for your project, so why not just go all the way?’” Brewer said. The next day, Schmiedel went around campus and set up the five elements of the movement. The five elements include stickers that she placed on chairs at the ReberThomas Dining Hall reading “I ate here alone today,” challenge cards containing challenges encouraging people to connect with a stranger, hanging mobiles reading “When I feel lonely, I feel this way” with a place for students to write their responses, posters featuring Brewer’s devotional and a “stranger danger” ball which contains challenges, such as fist bumping or having a conversation, that a person can accomplish and then hand to a stranger. Students can find the elements anywhere from the Montview Student Union hallways to bathrooms, but still they will be particularly likely to find them at the Reber-Thomas Dining Hall. All of the elements are intended to spark discussion and contemplation about loneliness, a topic relatable to many college students. A 2016 study by the American College Health Association found that more
HERE’S MY CARD — “Oh Hello” challenge cards offer prompts for meaningful interaction. than 60 percent of respondents said they had felt “very lonely” at some point in the past 12 months. “One of the biggest places I targeted was the Rot because, from personal experience, I’ve eaten alone there so many times and I see how students (do the same). I feel like so many people can relate to that,” Schmiedel said. “I know for myself and so many others, we’ll avoid even eating a meal because we feel lonely, or we’ll eat in our rooms. So I wanted to start that conversation and raise awareness for that.” Because the decision to officially launch the movement was last-minute, the girls had not originally intended to keep the elements up for a long time. “At the beginning we said we wanted it to be just a 24-hour thing, but we decided to do it so quickly that as soon as people were learning about it we were going to take everything down,” Schmiedel said. “We thought that was maybe the first exposure people had, so keeping it up for a couple days was good because I think people are starting a conversation about it and people
do know about it, which is really good.” Both Schmiedel and Brewer said they have been encouraged to see the response to the movement. “It’s fun to see this explode in a way we weren’t anticipating,” Brewer said. “(I don’t think) we really had a plan (going into it); we just wanted to shed light on a topic that people don’t generally talk about but everybody deals with. So hopefully we’ve done that.” More than just shedding a light on loneliness, Schmiedel hopes that students will see God through the movement. “(God) sees people and sees the lonely, and I think if Jesus were walking here right now, he would be doing this every day – walking up to strangers, welcoming them, no matter at what place they are and connecting and really valuing them,” Schmiedel said. “Not just because he sees the need of a friend, but because intrinsically he sees their worth and their story and what’s beautiful about them.” DEPIERO is the contributing editor.
B6 | April 17, 2018 | Liberty Champion
Building lasting bonds Liberty University helps build a new home in Habitat for Humanity partnership Abby Bowman email@example.com
In one Liberty student’s eyes, working on a Habitat for Humanity house over spring break was just as much about building relationships as it was building a home. Junior and Lynchburg native Tristan DeWitt spent Thursday and Friday of spring break working with other Habitat for Humanity volunteers constructing a house for a Lynchburg family. He and other Liberty students involved in Liberty’s Habitat for Humanity club worked alongside other Habitat for Humanity volunteers in what the club’s faculty leader Alison Pettit called a “blitz build.” Pettit got DeWitt involved in the Habitat for Humanity club, and now he is one of the student leaders. “I always had a heart to serve, and I enjoy working with my hands,” DeWitt said. DeWitt explained that he grew up working around the house with his father. “I can finally use some of the stuff that my dad has taught me to help other people,” DeWitt said. DeWitt said their group finished preconstructed walls the Saturday before break and then brought them to the build site Thursday during spring break. Friday, after the foundation was ready, they put in the floors, and Saturday they started put-
ting the walls up. Pettit said that now the windows are installed, the roof is being finished, the walls are up, and they are now working on the inside of the house. She said that although most houses take about four months to build, this house will take less than two months. According to DeWitt, getting to talk to the people he is working with helps pass the eight-hour work days. He said that a lot of the volunteers are experienced older adults, many of whom are retired and shared their lives’ experience with the younger volunteers as they worked on the site. DeWitt also said that all the Liberty students who came were native to Lynchburg and many of them already knew each other. “Seeing the other volunteers interact with the crew that was already there was really breathtaking, and it was really cool to see how all these people (with) completely different backgrounds come together to volunteer their time to build a house for a family we don’t even know,” DeWitt said. DeWitt said that, as with most Habitat for Humanity builds, the family they are building the house for was required to work on the house with them. DeWitt said
although he did not get to talk to the family, those who did were excited for this new start in their life. “We were trying to share our testimonies and stuff and be like ‘Hey, we’re loving helping you, and we want to be here
I always had a heart to serve, and I enjoy working with my hands. I can finally use some of the stuff that my dad has taught me to help other people. — Tristan DeWitt with you for as much of the journey as we can,’” DeWitt said. According to Pettit, another large role the Liberty Habitat for Humanity club played was raising $50,000 to build the house. They started fundraising in June of 2016. She said Sodexo was their biggest fundraising partner. “When we weren’t building, every couple of months we would go to a Habitat site
just to kind of get the experience of building things, but now that fundraising has kind of died down, we are now 100 percent working on the build,” Pettit said. According to DeWitt, who helped fundraise before he got involved with the build, fundraising is the hardest part. “One of the biggest things that we stress in Habitat is that we are not just fundraising, but we are seeing the project all the way through,” DeWitt said. DeWitt said that not only does working with Habitat for Humanity allow you to serve others, it also builds life experience. “I have learned so much more, not only about myself and what my skills are with a hammer or drill, but I can also say that I’ve earned life experience (from the retired volunteers),” DeWitt said. DeWitt said he enjoys the build, especially because of the interactions he and the other students have with everyone there. “I love seeing some of the members that are very quiet finally start opening up and talking to everybody,” DeWitt said. According to DeWitt, he got to build more than just a house.
BOWMAN is a feature reporter.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF SPRINK BREAK — Students teamed up with local volunteers spanning age and experience to build a home for a family in need.
Rookie’s is a rookie no more Local small business reflects on the past fledgling year from their food truck Atang Agwe firstname.lastname@example.org
Small business owners Jordan and Holly Nickerson did not know what to expect when launching their mobile dessert bar, Rookie’s (previously known as Mookie’s). But after reaching their one-year milestone, they are embracing all that they have learned thus far. Holly Nickerson shared how amazed and humbled she is that Rookie’s has been doing so well, especially in its rookie year since opening in April 2017. Defining themselves as newbies in the business world is partly what inspired them to change their name from “Mookie’s” to “Rookie’s” — that, and the fact that there was already a brand by the name of “Mookie’s.” After being advised by a friend to change the name for trademark purposes, the couple came up with “Rookie’s.” It took the Nickersons three months to come up with the new name, but once they did, they were excited about what it meant. “It felt like we were almost married to (Mookie’s). (Changing the name) felt like a break up,” Holly Nickerson said. “But how fitting for it to be our rookie year, not really knowing what we’re doing (with) our first business together. The name defines us as a new business and it’s comical.” Not only did the new name bring them joy, but it also gave them a story to tell. “When you see the mission you set out to
create come into fruition, you’re ecstatic. But when things go wrong, and you have a goal set in mind that doesn’t turn out the way you wanted it to, it’s harder than doing daily life,” Nickerson said.
to trademark their business and begin to sell such merchandise as T-shirts, hats and even glass milk bottles with their design on them. Rookie’s is also known to change its fla-
Atang Agwe | Liberty Champion
SIGNATURE SWEETS — Rookie’s is known for its cookie and ice cream sandwiches. Nickerson shared how the mobile dessert bar has some new things coming out over the next few months. As mentioned before, the couple desires
vors monthly, so for the first two days of every month, people can expect a new flavor. Holly Nickerson also stressed that staying involved in the community is very impor-
tant to their business, as they desire to participate in more catering and fundraising opportunities. Furthermore, Rookie’s will soon add another trailer to the operation. The couple recently purchased a 1969 Sprite Alpine vintage camper that they will be converting to attend events and weddings. “We are hoping to ‘roll out’ the new camper early fall after renovations (pun intended),” Nickerson said in a text message. The rapid completion of some rewarding goals that the Nickersons set out to accomplish through their first year of owning a business together caught them by surprise. The couple got out of debt after about four months of owning Rookie’s, which was much faster than they expected after taking out a small business loan to get started. Rookie’s is also proud to have been able to supply almost 20 people with parttime jobs. Nickerson spoke of being humbled by the turnout and support that Lynchburg has shown Rookie’s over the past year. “(There are) so many days that I’m just like ‘Wow, I can’t believe we’re going into our second year’ and we’re doing so well because people want us to stick around,” Nickerson said. “It’s just been really incredible, very humbling and very exciting to have the success that we have.” AGWE is a feature reporter.
Liberty Champion | April 17, 2018 | B7
He’s swinging on a star Drew Lafferty brings his own brand of jazz to Liberty with his “Swing Set” band
Jordan Jarrett | Liberty Champion
SING, SING, SING — Drew Lafferty specializes in vocal jazz from the ‘40s and ‘50s. Jordan Jarrett email@example.com
“How do I feel? I feel like the real deal.” Drew Lafferty sat in one of the several creaky chairs in the band practice room, all of which had been filled just minutes before. Over 150 people had gathered that night, April 5, to watch him and his 18-piece band perform a set of 14 classic jazz standards — old-timers made new by the sophomore cinematic arts student. “Drew Lafferty and his Swing Set, Live!” — the posters had proclaimed the event weeks before. It was set in black and white, just like Lafferty’s vision of transporting his audience back to a 1940s soundstage. I say “back to” because, meeting Lafferty, one would think he was a time traveler from 1945. He is precise with every word he speaks, with hardly a filler word to be found. His knowledge of jazz history as a timeless cultural staple — or as the basis for popular
music as we know it, according to him — transcends his age. But Lafferty’s own story did not start in a 1940s soundstage. It started back home in Virginia when his mother Patty would take him to see jazz bands in Stanton Gypsy Hill Park back home in Stanton, Virginia. The park is renowned for hosting the Stonewall Jackson Brigade Band in its white gazebolike amphitheater. That is where the seed of Lafferty’s love of jazz germinated. But the seed itself was planted by his father Chuck, who had sung in the Waynesboro Chorale Society before he died of cancer. Lafferty, who was adopted by Chuck and Patty as Andrew Kent Lafferty, was about 4 years old at the time. “I put everything into Andrew after that, because he was it — he was my life after my best friend died,” Patty, who her son’s band affectionately calls “Mama Lafferty,” said. “I tried to give him every opportunity to do whatever he wanted to do. I put him in Valley Music Academy as a toddler just to get mu-
sic experience, but I didn’t want to push him into music because his dad sang.” But Lafferty channeled his father’s memory on that April evening in 2018 through his father’s musical inspiration, his father’s high school class ring, even to his shirt studs on the crisp white shirt supported by oldfashioned suspenders under a tuxedo jacket. Lafferty might have worn his dad’s tie had he not worn it out. But Chuck had been wellrepresented in the night’s performance. Lafferty said that he sang for his father, for God and for everyone who has supported his art up to now. “(My dad) is the reason that my songs have a passion to them that they do,” Lafferty said. “It’s not just him though; it’s the people that tell me they love the music, and that they hear the original singer in what I do. One person says they hear Bobby Darin in me. Someone else says Sammy Davis Jr. Another person says Michael Bublé. And I’d say the top dog is chairman of the board — ‘old blue eyes’ Frank Sinatra. You can hear in his music that he doesn’t just focus on singing the song… if you’re truly good, you’re an artist. You tell a story, and I hope that I’ve done that.” The band practice room where we sat and talked was now quiet and the lights faded out if we stayed still for too long. That certainly was not the case earlier. Couples swing danced in the back of the packed room while Lafferty crooned the bouncy Jerome Kern classic “The Way You Look Tonight,” and coolly slid through the Newely-Bricusse staple “Feeling Good.” Lafferty told a story with every song. He gushed about the legendary partnership between Frank Sinatra and Nelson Riddle in writing and arranging iconic hits such as “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” and “I’ve Got the World on a String.” Lafferty then painted a narrative picture of a neonlit scene at Doc’s Diner as a prelude to his Billy Joel-esque rendition of “One For My Baby,” a soulful aside from the refrains of “New York, New York” and playful notes of “Blue Moon.” But most striking was the evening’s clos-
ing piece: “Come on Home,” a 1978 song written and composed by musician Dave Boyer, who has been called “the Frank Sinatra of Christian music” throughout the years. As Lafferty was obtaining rights and arrangements for each song in his set, his interaction directly with Boyer set this song apart all the more. “I got the call while I was shaving in the morning and it was from Florida,” Lafferty said. Boyer noted that while he did charge Lafferty for the song, he loved what the budding entertainer was doing at Liberty and offered a reduced price on the arrangement. Lafferty carried the hand-written note of encouragement from Boyer in his tux coat pocket. “He knew Frank Sinatra and sang with Frank and Dean Martin on the Tonight Show,” Lafferty said, telling Boyer’s story. “Right before he made music, he was a drug addict, completely away from God. He came back to faith and started recording songs about God in the big band style of music. This song grew on me, as it’s actually about a guy coming to Christ. My favorite line in that song is ‘I’ve been expecting your call.’ This is about coming on home; your past doesn’t matter at all.” “Come on Home” was to Lafferty that night what “My Way” was to Sinatra — a signature left on an audience that will surely live on as long as Drew Lafferty continues to build his band and perform aside from school work. Lafferty and his Swing Set are slated to try out for Christmas Coffeehouse 2018, just as they did for Christmas Coffeehouse 2017 where they performed “The Man with the Bag.” Drew Lafferty himself will next be performing with the LU Jazz Ensemble on April 23 at 7:30 p.m., in the School of Music’s Grand Concert Hall.
JARRETT is the feature editor.
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April 17, 2018
COULD BE ROYALS — The theme of the ASAD Fashion Show on Saturday was “Royal Heritage,” which displayed traces of regal themes and motifs.
Max Loth | Liberty Champion
ASAD hosts annual fashion show Spring show channels inspiration from traditional heritage and pop culture Atang Agwe firstname.lastname@example.org
From one fashion show to the next—from one nation to another. Liberty University’s Association of Students of African Descent (ASAD) hosted its annual Spring fashion show Saturday, April 14. With the theme “Royal Heritage,” the models and performers showcased what African kingship truly looks like. ASAD president Angela Owusuaa sought to bring a vision to life: a vision of an Africa that represents more than poverty or little children suffering from malnutrition. This represents a common image that she says is all too familiar in America. “We want to show you guys that Africa is a continent full of royalty and riches,” Owusuaa said. “There is more to our different cultures than what we usually see on TV.” Toluwanimi Ogbonmide, vice president of ASAD, is a junior who has been a part of
the club since his freshman year. He talked about how the meaning and foundation of ASAD is bigger than the club itself. He also brought to light how ASAD progressed both in its much-anticipated fashion show and as a club as a whole. “We definitely improved on content, clothes, music and dance,” Ogbonmide said. “The show has also gained a bigger fan base, so that’s good.” According to the vice president, Liberty alumni are always the first to get their tickets, even before actual Liberty students, because they love to come and support the show. The red carpet was lined with students, faculty, parents and friends all excited to see what ASAD would display this year. The theme “Royal Heritage” was picked by ASAD’s executives, and it was essential to them and all the club members to convey the importance of positively transform-
ing the way people view Africa and African people. Male and female models dressed in a variety of styles representing different African countries. They navigated the stage with confidence and poise while the crowd cheered, snapped and applauded. “We (African people) should not come to America and lose track of our culture or try to ‘blend in,’” Ogbonmide said. “You can adjust to your environment but don’t try to permanently blend in because you do have a real heritage.” He also mentioned how the recent record-breaking Marvel movie, “Black Panther,” really helped the team relay excitement surrounding African heritage to the audience. The movie is based on a fictional African country called Wakanda where its citizens have no problem showcasing their African pride. The show also had a number of performers including the Ntiboneras Band and the
Fistone Band, both of whom danced and sang to popular African music. ASAD also included a new segment in the fashion show, which was a skit performed by three of its club members. Timothy Maduka, who played the African father in the skit, was the brains behind the act, according to Ogbonmide. The audience responded with laughter, which let the club members know that they made the right move by including more content that involved audience interactions. “(A skit) is probably something we’ll be doing every year now,” Ogbonmide said. “The crowd loved it, and that’s what I meant by ‘new content.’” What is expected to come next for ASAD is a new executive board as some members are graduating, and cookouts, soccer games and movie nights during the fall and another spring fashion show in April 2019. AGWE is a feature reporter.
Final pieces on proud display Liberty University art students host their senior exhibition at Green Hall gallery Jessica Hales email@example.com
Max Loth | Liberty Champion
ILLUMINATED — The senior art gallery displays some of the best work of certain senior art students through their college careers.
In an exhibition that will light up any underclassman’s creative embers, the Liberty University studio art majors are having their senior exhibition, titled “Luminescence: Origin of Light,” until April 25. The senior exhibition features artwork of various kinds: photographs, drawings and paintings, jewelry, pottery and sculptures. Some artists enjoy classic art, drawing and painting, while others prefer a more diverse medium such as sculptures and photography. Many of the artists sell their work and also have some just to observe. Some artists have some of their finest pieces on display but they will sell their concepts or give them a business card and the artist can recreate the art on display. Just like each artist, each piece of artwork is unique and diverse throughout the exhibition. Since there is no central theme for the art show, each artist is allowed to choose his or her own theme. This allows for their creativity to flow through, not just their artwork, but how they present it as well. One of the first exhibits is a beachthemed exhibit designed by senior artist Natasha Fifelski, who is also the assistant at the front desk of the gallery. Fifelski is from southern Florida, so painting a beach scene comes natural to her. “Every artist has their own coherent theme that goes with their artwork,” Fifelski said. Fifelski enjoys all unique pieces of
artwork in the exhibition, however her favorites are any kind of classic art such as drawing and painting. Most of the work Fifelski has on display and on sale are paintings and pottery work. “We are all very different,” Fifelski said. “looking at each artist, some have similar concepts but almost everyone is very different.” Fifelski has an array of different paintings. Fifelski has mostly acrylic paint but she also has some oil and watercolor. Fifelski is selling her pottery, oil and acrylic pieces, however for her watercolor pieces she is only selling prints, not the original watercolor artwork. Fifelski’s artwork ranges from $90 to $150 depending on the size, and her watercolor prints are $5. Amy Padgett is a graduating senior and has a display of different artwork she has done. Her central theme is characteristics of people. Padgett has four sections of artwork, black and white sketches, paintings, photographs and posters. Each of these aspects represents the four areas of art that she is able to do. For her drawings, paintings and photography she uses already-made ideas from online sources and recreates them, but for her posters she creates the ideas herself. The challenges that she looks for when trying to recreate an art piece is ethnicities, hair color and emotion. Padgett is a student teacher at Liberty Christian Acadamy and she likes to instruct her students on how she views art and the challenges she likes about art. “I was teaching my students how to do portraits,” Padgett said. “I wanted
to pick something that would challenge me just so they know I still have challenges but that I can still work through them.” The drawings that Padgett created were originally an assignment in one of her classes on an anatomy unit and so she decided to use the best ones in her exhibit. Each drawing features a different emotion within the eyes she drew. Padgett said that the paintings did not take long. Each of the paintings took a day to create, except for one she created overnight right before the opening show. Padgett decided to do a fairy-styled theme for the photography section in her exhibit. Padgett used model Hannah Kauffman and then went into Photoshop to add effects to the photos to make them look mystical. The posters that Padgett created, all on her own, are floral and galaxy themed. Padgett is selling prints of each poster for $20. Fifelski explains that this is an art exhibition for only the senior graduating class, however the art gallery also does exhibitions for other students and faculty. Liberty University will invite other artists from around the country, and some come in from around the world just to showcase their artwork. This can be a great opportunity for the students to reach out to those other artists for advice on art, whether they are aspiring freshmen with blank sketchbooks, or seniors with proudly mounted work.
HALES is a feature reporter.