GEORGIA REGENTS UNIVERSITY
VOLUME 56, ISSUE 1
TUESDAY, AUGUST 27, 2013
Merger brings many policy changes Numerous withdrawals lowers GPA By MEGAN STEWART arts & life editor
RICHARD ADAMS | STAFF
A student on the Summerville campus shields herself from the sun while waiting in line outside the Student Financial Aid Office.
Financial aid disburses frustration
By LEIGH BEESON and JORDAN WILLIAMS editor-in-chief, sports editor
For some students, the process of receiving financial aid has always been a struggle involving long phone calls to the Financial Aid office and hours of deliberation regarding what grants, loans or scholarships would best suit their needs. This semester, though, has proved particularly taxing for students like Kristiana Fernandez, a junior psychology major, and Jessica Rogers, a junior in the respiratory therapy program at the Health Sciences campus. The Summerville campus, where Student Financial Aid is located, is still in the process of moving offices and adjusting to new electronic systems, such as the newly launched Pounce, which replaced Elroy as the main student information system where students could access their financial aid information. The Customer Service office, which deals with students one-onone, is currently housed in the old
purchasing building, said Cynthia Parks, the director of Student Financial Aid. However, the office will be relocating back to Paine Hall by February 2014. Fernandez, who had always struggled with financial aid paperwork because of her dad’s military status, said the merger and moving process seemed to exacerbate preexisting communication problems within the department. She made multiple trips to the office but said she had to talk to different people every time and that they all told her something different. “You’re waiting and the line doesn’t go anywhere, but you don’t want to lose your spot in line because you have to get these things in,” Fernandez said. “Even when you meet those deadlines for certain paperwork, they don’t tell you that you’re still missing something.” Rogers had an issue with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid that resulted in a hold being placed on her account, a problem she said other students had as well. Af-
Body Cameras Public Safety uniform addition meant to add measure of protection By ASHLEY TRAWICK news editor Whenever there is a report of a suspicious person on campus or a traffic situation, officers of Georgia Regents University’s Public Safety department will now have body cameras recording the procedures. Campus officers’ uniforms have contained the so-called “body cameras” for about two years, but it wasn’t until recently that buzz about them began to spread across the student body and members of the Augusta, Ga., community. William McBride, the director of Public Safety and chief of police, said there were two main reasons why cameras were incorporated onto the officers’ uniforms. “No. 1 was they’re an excellent way to settle any citizen dispute,” McBride said. “What you get is when a citizen gets a ticket, they would call and they would say, ‘I ran red the light, but listen your officer was very rude.’ Now really? Well, how rude was he? I said, ‘You know, if we had cameras, we could record this.’ So we started buying these
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ASHLEY TRAWICK | STAFF
Campus officers sport new chest cameras to monitor routine stops.
cameras, and my guys started using them at the traffic stops so when they make a complaint against an officer, I can go to the video and look at it and see.” It’s effective because it disproves dishonest remarks about officers and their actions. What the citizen wants to prove most is that they didn’t deserve the ticket in the first place and they use any maneuver they can to try and avoid it, he said. The only time that the cameras see SURVEILLANCE on PAGE 2
NEWS | PAGE 2
Signs on Summerville and Health Sciences campuses slated for upgrades.
ter waiting for weeks for the money to show in her account, Rogers took matters into her own hands, calling FAFSA herself. “She said she delivered my correction three or four days after, that the school had it three or four days after, and she has no idea why they can’t get ahold of it or why they (haven’t) processed it,” Rogers said. “So they’ve been lying to me – everyone I spoke to had lied to me the whole time, and I guess they just wanted to get me off the phone and get me out of there because it wasn’t important to them.” She felt financial aid was giving her the runaround and that no one was really looking into her problem, Rogers said. “They didn’t ask for my number, my ID; they didn’t ask my name,” Rogers said. “They just automatically put me in a category of, OK, this person asked me this question, this is how I respond to the question.” Junior art major Allyssa Peace said the only problem she experienced with Financial Aid was with
navigating the student acceptance form online. “If I had been a first-time student, I might have been a little overwhelmed just by the lines and the places I had to go just to, like, figure things out,” she said. The office is essentially on schedule, Parks said, and long lines or difficulties reaching Financial Aid are to be expected this time of year. “You can’t call any financial aid across this country and be able to reach them quickly on the telephone or through email or even trying to go to the offices,” Parks said. “Most offices have long lines because guess what? It’s our peak season.” Fernandez said the office’s disorganization could have been avoided. “During the summer while it was slow, they could’ve been working out these things,” Fernandez said. “It would’ve made everybody a lot happier if they had been more organized.”
The beginning of a new semester sets into play a new policy that caps the amount of withdrawals students can utilize in their courses at Georgia Regents University. The new 4 Years 4 U, an initiative started for the class of 2017 in order to motivate students to graduate in four years, brings sincerity to the administration’s meaning by implementing its idea of timely completion. The withdrawal policy has changed from students being able to have an unlimited amount of withdrawals before midterm without suffering adverse effects on their GPAs to only being able to withdraw from five, said Carol Rychly, the vice president for Academic Affairs. Although exceeding the five-class mark will not result in expulsion from the university, it will result in the student receiving a Withdrew Failing as a penalty grade, she said. However, the new policy doesn’t take into account any existing withdrawals that returning Georgia Regents students may already have. While surpassing five classes will result in a failing grade, each withdrawal also takes a toll on a student’s satisfactory academic progression, said Cynthia Parks, the director of Student Financial Aid. All financial aid recipients have to maintain a minimum completion rate of 67 percent of their total hours attempted and must complete degree requirements within the maximum allowable time frame, which is 150 percent of the total hours required, according to the Georgia Regents financial aid website. “Students will have the tendency to stay in their classes,” Parks said, “which is a good thing, you know, and to get adsee WITHDRAWAL on PAGE 2
Freshmen surveyed to gain perspective on student experience By JAMIE LOWE webmaster Most freshmen want to have their opinions heard, and that’s exactly what the Cooperative Institutional Research Program Freshman Survey is designed to do. The CIRP student survey is a statistical analysis of the incoming freshman class at Georgia Regents University and its habits. Research analysts in the Division of Institutional Effectiveness, located on the Health Sciences campus, are administering the survey. “The survey should take about 30 minutes,” said Heather Lewis, the lead research analyst. “This is a long survey, but the results will help us better tailor programs and amenities to students on campus as a result of the survey.” The survey is conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute, a national organization dedicated to providing universities with data about their students. The HERI is responsible for the National Survey of Student Engagement, a survey Georgia Regents has administered every three
years and which the Board of Regents has paid for. It’s distributed to each class of students, who have to take it three different times during their college careers. The first time, the survey is dispersed before the student starts freshman classes. The second time, it is administered is right after the end of the first two semesters. The last part of the survey is taken shortly before graduation. “Different questions are tracked at different points in time to see the group evolve as students,” she said. Although some freshmen have been filling out the survey, there is some concern that students aren’t properly receiving the survey. “We had some very low numbers, so far, and we’re afraid that the survey is being sent to the students’ junk mail box in their email accounts,” said Mary Filpus-Luyckx, an Office of Planning and Assessment coordinator. Filpus-Luyckx is in charge of facilitating the CIRP survey to the freshman class this year and said she is hopeful for the outcome of the project. The layout of the survey is divided into different sections. One group
ARTS & LIFE | PAGE 4
Week of Welcome kicks off the new semester with a week’s worth of events.
of questions asks the students personal information about their habits in high school, socially and academically. Another set of questions asks students about personal behavior while in high school. When filling out the survey, the Family Educational Rights and Personal Act is applied. “Pulling up one student’s information is really challenging and required a lot more number crunching,” said Adam Wyatt, the director of Assessment. One of the highlights of the survey is how the administration for the Health Sciences and Summerville campuses will be the key to evaluating which programs will continue to be in effect and which won’t. Kevin Frazier, the associate vice president for student health and development, said the unique opportunity is having a new university where people aren’t stuck with preconceived notions and programs that are losing standing. Part of the university’s investment in the CIRP survey, though, isn’t only about wanting to hear the students’ see SURVEY on PAGE 2
SPORTS | PAGE 8
Olympian meets and greets excited fans at local swim shop.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 27, 2013
Campus signs to be revamped By MEREDITH DAY staff writer
The voice of
Georgia Regents University EDITORIAL STAFF adviser MATTHEW BOSISIO firstname.lastname@example.org editor-in-chief LEIGH BEESON email@example.com copy editor MINDY WADLEY firstname.lastname@example.org news editor ASHLEY TRAWICK email@example.com arts & life editor MEGAN STEWART firstname.lastname@example.org sports editor JORDAN WILLIAMS email@example.com chief reporter REBECCA PERBETSKY firstname.lastname@example.org production manager JACQUELYN PABON email@example.com production assistant NIKKI SKINNER firstname.lastname@example.org photographer NEIL DAVENPORT email@example.com staff writers RICHARD ADAMS KEREYIA BUTLER MEREDITH DAY JACOB SCHARFF MAGGIE SMITH contributor MIKE LEPP circulation manager advertising manager webmaster JAMIE LOWE firstname.lastname@example.org Direct advertising inquiries to: Marie Pierce, National Sales Manager Media Mate email@example.com Address all correspondence to: The Bell Ringer 2500 Walton Way Augusta, Ga 30904 706-737-1600 www.asubellringer.com
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With the creation of Georgia Regents University, both campuses are now awaiting new and improved signs. Jennifer Smith, the director of facilities management, said not only do the signs need to be changed at the Augusta, Ga., campuses, but they also need to be changed at the regional campuses and the multiple clinical practice sites. According to the amount of work that needs to be done, she said, $3.8 million is actually a fairly small amount. “If you look at it from a total university and health system, that is actually not a whole lot of money,” Smith said. She also said that replacing the signs is a much more complicated task than most people would assume. When a sign is changed, it often reveals problems with the buildings, which then need to be fixed as well. “When the letters come down from the very tops of the buildings, many of those letters have been up there for years and so you see shadows,” she said. The buildings would then need to be repainted or fixed to cover them up. She said that this is just one of many problems that she’s running into with this project that could potentially add both time and money to the projected total. When it comes to money, Smith said conserving is one of her highest priorities. “It’s really important that we brand and sign the campus appro-
RICHARD ADAMS | STAFF
Signs on the Summerville and Health Sciences campuses will change to reflect the university’s new name.
priately,” Smith said. “However, we have been extremely cautious and careful not to put up temporary signs. We didn’t want to spend any more money than what we had to.” But it’s not all about the challenges that this project presents. It’s also about the opportunities that it presents for the future of the university. Clint Bryant, the director of Athletics, talked about how he is excited for these changes. He said the floor in Christenberry Field House has already been replaced to reflect the new university and that the tables and signs on the fields would have to be changed eventually too. “There will be a transition,”
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visement to make sure (that) students make sure when they get into those courses, that they’re taking the courses that they should really be taking during a particular semester and to plan wisely when selecting courses during a semester.” The new policy is more than a motivational tool designed to have students at an earlier age to be more serious but also to create educated and thoughtful consumers, said Julie Goley, the director of Advisement and Career Services. Another perspective to the 4 Years 4 U initiative is to have students minimize their debt, she said. The lackadaisical approach to taking classes with the availability to drop without penalty has caused many students to prolong their course at the school, ultimately only building their debt. “In a good economy or in a tough economy, debt is debt,” Goley said. “I don’t like seeing our graduates, even in a good economy, land jobs where their salary is nowhere near the debt.” Historically, the former Augusta State University estimated that less than half of the student body took 15 credit hours a semester, Goley said. With the new structure for tuition, students pay for
Georgia Tech and Georgia State. The cost of the project didn’t faze him. If the project, he said, can be completed for $3.5 million that would be a great deal. Kenneth Reames, the electrical supervisor of the Summerville campus, said he is also excited for the changes and how the university is growing and that faculty, staff and students should be proud to be called Georgia Regents University. “I’ve been working here for seven years now, and I love working here,” Reames said. “It’s great that we can be a big university.”
Withdrawal a 15-hour load, Rychly said. Because of this, the university is encouraging students to not only start with 15 hours but to remain taking that amount. “Everybody really needs to be thinking of 15 as full time,” she said. “We had a tradition here thinking of 12 as full time. It was really meant to be a minimum to allow for some flexibility, but it kind of became our maximum, our standard operating procedure.” However, when looking into the data, Rychly said students were signing up for 15 hours initially and then dropping. “It’s inefficient to do that,” she said. “It’s inefficient for them because they don’t finish in time; it’s inefficient for classroom utilization because particularly in, like, lab classes – if someone takes up a seat and there are only 24 that can be in there and then they drop, there’s someone who was waiting that could have been in the class who would’ve really needed it. For a lot of reasons, it seemed like we needed to help change the paradigm shift a little bit to doing that.” Although their scope is focused on the student body being more aware and pursuing a timely path to comple-
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Bryant said, “but I believe that under the leadership of the university that it will be something that is done appropriately.” He said the controversy concerning the edited 2011 golf course team picture that no longer showed the ASU logo was never an issue for him. “Anytime you make a transition or anytime you have a change, there are going to be some missteps and as long as people take responsibility for them and correct them, then that’s all you can ask,” he said. He also said that he hopes that the changes to the university will help this school come to the same level as the University of Georgia,
opinions - it’s about really lending an ear to the opinions of freshmen. “The university isn’t run on unlimited funds,” Frazier said. “Decisions at this university are usually made on data, not feelings. This is a chance to hear the students’ feelings.” Several schools across the nation administer the survey to incoming freshmen each year and use the results for programs and student services, Lewis said. “We’ve got to figure out how other schools use (these) items to help the students,” she said.
tion, the policy doesn’t stop there. Academic services are working to make adjustments in the academic curriculum as well, Goley said. “In order to change the culture and … address a more timely completion, we need to do some things to help support that,” she said. “But we also need to look at our curriculum. Is it supportive of helping students get out? The university has to own up and go, ‘What are the possible hurdles that we’ve got, that we need to look at, to remove barriers to help the students to be successful?’” Although data that Rychly reviewed suggests that students who take 15 hours are more successful than students who only take 12, some students find the pressure more than they want to bear. “I know that my student debt is higher than I ever expected when registering in the beginning,” said Matthew James, a sophomore majoring in criminal justice. “However, I don’t know how I feel about the new policy because if I end up taking a load that is more than I can handle then I’m still losing money and accumulating just as much debt or worse, now, ruining my GPA.”
“We want to use the data from this survey to effect the Annual Unit Plans and Strategic Unit Plans for several different amenities on campus, including financial aid, advising and faculty office hours.” As far as sharing the results with the community, the CIRP team is more than willing to, Wyatt said. “We’ll be sharing the CIRP results with the students and with the community,” he said. “We may have a few open sessions to answer questions that people have about the results that come up.”
are turned on is at traffic stops and when a report is filed about a skeptical person on either campus. The officers don’t walk around with the cameras turned on because they won’t store much. The second reason, McBride said, is that they’re good for DUI checks. “When we do traffic stops and we get, like, a DUI and they perform the basic field sobriety test on the street, that’s all videotaped,” he said. “And, of course, that’s turned over to the court when we have the case go to trial. It shows clearly the person is either drunk or they’re not. They can either pass it or they can’t.” Courtland Hooper, the lieutenant of day shift for Georgia Regents Public Safety, said the cameras are used universally on both the Health Sciences and Summerville campuses, and the traffic stops vary. There’s no set number for how many stops occur. “It depends on how the officers are dispatched or how many traffic stops they conduct during their shift or during their week or during their month,” Hooper said. “There’s no set time.” He added that the cameras are good tools for training for the officers. “It’s a good tool to minimize liability because you can show that the officers are conducting themselves in a professional manner,” he said. McBride said if a student is concerned that his privacy is invaded, it’s completely the opposite. It’s the same as a student taking out a cell phone and recording the traffic stop. “A lot of cars have the dash cam,” he said. “They’re mounted at the rearview mirror. Well, the advantage of a body cam is that when you get out of the car, the camera goes where you go, so you get a better quality coverage.” James Jordan, an officer of Public Safety, said the cameras have worked out well with the department. “It records the true story and catches both sides,” Jordan said. “If any complaints come about, we could always go back, review the video (and) see what actually occurred and did not occur. It’s worked pretty good for us so far.” McBride said since the consolidation, there haven’t been any major changes with the department. However, for the Summerville campus officers, there have been uniform changes, and they’re now carrying Tasers. “We don’t have Summerville officers and medical campus officers,” he said. “All the officers work everywhere. They’re all cross-trained for both platforms so they’re all equipped the same, they’re all trained the same (and) they all wear the same uniform.” McBride also stressed that officers do their absolute best to protect faculty, staff and students of both campuses. “The police force for GRU is not designed to police the students (or) the employees,” he said. “It’s designed to keep the university safe for the students and the faculty. Our main job is to maintain a crimefree, not-hostile campus so that the students ... come here to learn without being under any duress. Our business is to protect the students.”
THE BELL RINGER
editorial An unharmonious university union
Let’s begin by saying that we at The Bell Ringer are some of the biggest supporters of the merger. Being a full-fledged research university will open many doors for the former Augusta State University. As an R-1 institution, we are among the most prestigious universities in the state. We have more resources – financial and academic – than we would alone. We have more programs than we did before. We have a higher volume of students, including graduate students and medical students. The more acclaim the new university receives, the more likely it is that the caliber of incoming students will increase alongside the student population. And, although the name isn’t one we supported or even liked, we can get past it. What we can’t get past are the nauseainducing side effects of this merger. There was that highly publicized survey that ranked University of Augusta as the best-sounding name for the new
editorial policy Letters to the editor must be accompanied by the author’s email address. All columns and letters to the editor are the opinion of the author. The views expressed in the opinion section do not necessarily express those of The Bell Ringer, a designated public forum. Anything submitted to The Bell Ringer is open to be edited or rejected. However, The Bell Ringer staff gives all opinions a fair chance to be heard. All letters will be edited for grammar and style. If you would like to contribute a column or a letter to the editor, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
university, a survey that turned out to be a complete waste of taxpayer money when the results were ignored and Georgia Regents University was forced on us instead. There was the snafu with the removal of Augusta State from athletes’ uniforms in photos featured in a university view book in February, a “mistake” that the administration arguably wouldn’t have addressed at all had the Augusta Chronicle not completely and utterly shamed the higher ups into apologizing. And more recently, there was the misspelling of the word college on some summer graduates’ diplomas, a story that got picked up by every news site from HuffPost College to the Daily Caller to Business Insider. A university with nine colleges should probably know that how to spell that word, right? Admittedly, the mistake can be chalked up to an overlooked typo. But an institution of higher learning should probably invest in a proofreader. Especially when the document in question
For the past two weeks, I have been experiencing a frustratingly persistent stomach pain. It was enough to make me extremely uncomfortable, but not enough to send me running to the emergency room ... or a bottle of pills. I have never been a fan of taking medication. Sure, it is needed in severe situations, but we should not be popping pills every day for minor headaches, the sniffles or sore (but not flaming red) throats. The good, old fashioned immune system can duke it out with these little pesky parts of being human. Needless to say, I am not very fond of doctors either. Seeing as they push pills on you for a simple cold, I do not rush to the doctor for every little cough. If I ever meet a doctor who tells me to drink some hot tea, take a long bath and get some rest, I will most certainly visit him more often, but I digress. The point is, doctor visits are for illnesses that you do not understand and cannot bear any longer. It is with that mentality that I trudged into my doctor’s office Monday afternoon and waited to see what terrible, terrible disease I had and what crazy little pills they were going to send sliding down my throat. After being submitted to the ritual of relieving my bladder into a cup so that mad scientists in some cramped lab somewhere could have a conversation about how I drink way too much coffee, I was finally taken back to see my doctor. Let us refer to her as Dr. Stirrups. Stirrups shuffled into the room and asked me to describe my symptoms. After performing my physical exam, she said something that made my stomach turn.
doesn’t have to be easily accessible to students. That’s part of what made Augusta State’s president, William Bloodworth, so great. Students could drop by his office to say hello or ask for an interview or meeting. Perhaps that’s not how they ran things at Georgia Health Sciences University, but we were quite accustomed to our closeknit, family-like academic community. And we were also used to our electronic information systems, the locations of our offices, the caring faculty and staff, and the policies and procedures that governed our institution. The Bell Ringer was wrong when we called this process a merger back in September because to merge implies that the finished institution will reflect some aspects of both original entities. This isn’t a merger; it’s a hostile takeover in which the former Augusta State and its students and staff get shafted.
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Hold the stirrups, save money JORDAN BARRY staff writer
is one as important and sacrosanct as a college diploma, something that will be framed and possibly publicly displayed in professional offices. But the madness doesn’t stop there. Bell Ringer staffers have previously written about Augusta State faculty members who were asked to step down from their positions as department chairs as a result of the merger. The administration always referred to such actions as “lateral moves.” Call it what you will, but we all know what it means when an administration asks someone to step aside for someone new. We understand that a new president has the right to hire whomever he chooses. But it doesn’t breed good will when that president decides to replace beloved faculty and staff with complete unknowns. Especially when that same president has made questionable decisions regarding the use of school resources for personal benefit. We also understand that the president
She wanted to have sonograms taken of my gallbladder and lower pelvic region. I could hear my wallet crying as I mulled over the possibilities. If I asked to wait on the tests and try something less costly first, I could save myself hundreds of dollars. However, what if something was legitimately wrong? What if it turned out to be one of those things you see where, “if they only would have caught it sooner,” I would not have died at the youthful age of 21? So, I went through with it. And do you know what they found with their fancy sound images that I had to pay out -of-pocket for? Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zip. Zero. Absolutely nothing! Oh! And imagine how annoyed I was when the answer to all my problems was in that little cup. That routine test that costs little to nothing could have put my over-dramatic worries that I was dying to rest. I wasted a whole week worrying and fretting and waiting for lab tests at hospitals while continuing to endure the discomfort, and I ended up dropping a hefty amount of cash for no real reason. My advice to all of the doctor-goers out there (so probably everyone?): Do not let your doctor rush you into serious lab testing if a simple test could hold the answer. Unless you are seriously ill, take it one step at a time. Perhaps Stirrups was simply worried about me. Perhaps she has hypochondriac tendencies and a pessimistic outlook, and she jumped to the worst possible scenario. I do know that if something serious had really been wrong, I would be thanking God for good ole Stirrups, but right now I am proving my point. Maybe big-time doctors do not just want to take your money, but, just in case, do not let them! Use your own judgment with each situation and do not always take their words as gospel.
Nostalgia of the past decade MINDY WADLEY copy editor
Ten years ago this month, I was beginning my senior year of high school, and now here I am entering my senior year of college. So much has changed in the past decade that I truly have a hard time recognizing myself in the memories of the person I was back then. I don’t just mean that I’ve undergone personal changes—although that certainly is true—but the world in which I’ve existed during these 10 years has transformed drastically. I didn’t even own a cell phone back then. The entire realm of achievable communication for me largely consisted of face-to-face conversation, telephone calls via phones requiring a cord, passing heatedly scrawled letters back and forth in school or late-night AIM chats. Then again, some things haven’t changed so very much. I had an excellent fashion sense my senior year of high school, despite being too poor to afford the wardrobe in my mind’s eye, something my 17-year-old self and my 27-year-old self have in common. Even then, I was highly sociable, but tended to mingle more with my significant other at the time and a couple of close friends as opposed to hanging out in big social circles. And toward the end of my senior year of high school, my dream of going into journalism began to refine itself in my imagination, although in those days I fantasized about becoming a magazine editor, the next Anna Wintour. Reflecting on the last 10 years gives me extremely mixed emotions: A tinge of embarrassment when I realize how long I’ve taken to get to this point in my college career, when everyone who knew me in high school prob-
ably expected me to have a doctoral degree by now; pride in the fact that I’m even approaching this milestone, in spite of the pitfalls I’ve encountered along the way; a sense of urgency, an internal whispering of “hurry, hurry, rush, rush,” warning me not to slow down, lest I allow the rapid-fire pace with which I’m tackling these last two semesters of my undergraduate experience to dwindle to a halt. But I suppose the most predominant feeling I’m having as I enter my last year of college is uncertainty. I’m constantly questioning every choice I make, never sure I’m doing the right thing, always wary that the next step I take will lead to another of those pitfalls I mentioned before. After all, as a high school senior, I had the rest of my life ahead of me to become anything I could possibly dream of. I was a wellspring of potential. And somehow, the expectations I set up for myself at the tender age of 17 just never quite matched up with the reality of my experiences. Don’t get me wrong: I am thankful for every single “mistake” I made that led me to where I am now. I have a wonderful job. I love my daughter and my boyfriend with all my heart. And I am starting to be happy with the person I’ve become over the years. She’s someone who, I think, even my 17-year-old self would have been proud of. So as I approach college graduation and entering the “real world” with a humble measure of trepidation, one more emotion emerges: excited anticipation. I can’t help harboring a somewhat naïve expectancy that great things are in store for my future, if I only have the courage to take the necessary steps to achieve them. “What I dream the day might send, just around the riverbend.”
How financial aid messed up my semester NIKKI SKINNER production assistant firstname.lastname@example.org
Let me start by saying that financial aid has always had its issues, but this semester in particular has been a disaster. I understand that, as students, we have had the whole summer to get things straightened out. The problem is with the merger - it has made it 100 times harder to get financial issues sorted out, no matter how small or how large those problems may be. I began working on my financial aid issues during the beginning of the summer, though it took forever to simply sort out the new system alone. They just added more complications to the ones they already had. After several unanswered emails, I was finally able to contact someone and figure out exactly what they needed from me.
But when I went to drop off my paperwork, they were in the middle of relocating. Why would you decide to relocate offices three to four weeks before school starts back? That is essentially the busiest time for your department. Upon giving them my paperwork, they took it and threw it in a drawer. That really made me feel comfortable about the future of my financial issues. Even after telling me that was all they needed, I still had some outstanding holds. I made several trips to the financial aid office and asking the same questions several times. Each time they sent me home with the same response, “Just wait a couple days.” After hearing that five times and miraculously making it through the drop period unscathed, I contacted them again in hopes of getting my issues sorted out. After explaining my problem to the woman there, she contacted my financial aid counselor. Within 20 minutes and the click of a few but-
tons, they had my problem solved. They then presumed to ask me, “Why did you not contact us sooner?” Do they not keep a record of the students coming in and out? Can they not see that they have opened my file several times over the course of the past few weeks? I thought that was the point of the log sheet we sign every time we go into the office. Each time I went into the office, they opened my file in front of me and explained to me what I needed. After finally having my issue solved and seeing it was such a simple task, I am wondering why they couldn’t resolve the issue while I was sitting there? Instead, I missed out on the chance to get my financial aid to cover my books and risked being dropped from classes. Then they had the nerve to question me as if I did not do my part by contacting them. I know they are extremely busy, but so is everyone else. I took the time out of my day multiple times
to make an hour drive to campus to be turned around and told there is nothing I can do. “Just wait a couple days.” Then you want to blame me for doing as I was told. To me, the problem seems to be communication within the department itself. I know the merger has thrown a wrench into everything, but messing up students’ financial aid is the quickest way to lose them in the long run. I understand there have been several issues within the financial aid department internally. That is still no excuse for things like this to happen. If it was such a simple “fix”, then why not do it the first time I visited? They could have saved themselves so much time. That would have been one fewer person and another 30 minutes or so that could have been spent helping another student with bigger issues.
AUGUST 27, 2013
ARTS & LIFE www.asubellringer.com
Georgia Regents welcomes Class of 2017
Kicking off the new semester with new traditions By MEREDITH DAY staff writer
his week, Georgia Regents University invited students, both new and old, to celebrate the beginning of the semester with five days full of activities in this year’s Week of Welcome. The events were planned as a blend of activities to both introduce freshmen and transfer students to the campus and also to show appreciation returning students in their first week back at class. It kicked off with a showing of the film “Now You See Me” Sunday evening, Aug. 18, and concluded on the following Friday with a night of free bowling. Several other events were planned in between including ClubFest, Meet the Greeks, Flavors of Augusta, Meet Me at the Fountain and many others. At ClubFest, which was held Wednesday, students could speak one-on-one with representatives from many of the clubs and organizations around campus. They were also able to meet the fraternities and sororities that were there for Meet the Greeks. Several of the organizations even put on performances, such as dance routines, for the students to enjoy. Jessica Haskins, the assistant
NEIL DAVENPORT | PHOTOGRAPHER
Georgia Regents University compiles a week of events in order to welcome in a new semester and student body.
director for programs, said ClubFest is one of the more traditional events that has been a part of Week of Welcome for years under the name What’s the Scoop. “I’d say that’s the most effective event in the sense of getting students acclimated to campus and seeing what it has to offer,” Haskins said. “I think that’s one of the more beneficial events, but we also try to make all of our events educational in some way.” On Thursday, students walking through the Jaguar Student Activi-
ties Center probably heard people shouting, “Free food!” to announce that day’s event titled Flavors of Augusta. Students who stopped by were treated to pizza and chicken from local restaurants. This was also the day of another event called Huge Poster Sale, during which students could purchase giant posters to decorate their rooms. At the Meet Me at the Fountain lunch, Friday afternoon’s main event, freshmen enjoyed free food while also getting to sign their class banner and play games for the
Food Trucks Changing the idea of food on the go By JACOB SCHARFF staff writer
an Augusta pick up on the food truck frenzy? In recent years, food trucks have come into the spotlight as a great way to get food out to the people, and three eateries in Augusta, Ga., have used these mobile kitchens to their advantage, despite some severe limitations. The Brown Bag Café, which opened in August 2012, actually started its food truck back in July 2011. Enrique Romero, the operating partner of The Brown Bag Café and Brown Bag food truck, said that it is fairly common nowadays for people to start food trucks and then move onto actual restaurants. The birth of Brown Bag Café didn’t mean that the Brown Bag food truck disappeared, but its uses became more specialized. “At this point now, because of the functionality of the café, our food truck is now used more for special events and caterings,” Romero said. The Brown Bag food truck has catered many functions including events at the Columbia County Amphitheatre, an event known as Symphony Under the Stars and events for Augusta HarleyDavidson. The truck also serves birthday parties, baby showers and everything in between. Being smaller and having fewer workers than a normal kitchen also results in a reduced menu size. When the food truck hit the streets, it was slow-going at first because people weren’t sure what the truck even was,
he said. The truck was sometimes mistaken for a “roach coach” and even a dog grooming business due to the logo of a rescued pitbull-Shar Pei mix dog named Marley. Another popular restaurant that has launched a food truck within the community is Crum’s On Central. Andrew Crumrine, the restaurant owner, started his food truck in 2011 as well, after buying the truck from a friend. Crumrine said now, though, the truck has been relegated to catering events with an entirely separate menu from the brick and mortar restaurant. “We do mostly sandwiches,” he said. “When you watch TV and you see stuff on food trucks, it’s usually a little bit more outlandish, a little bit more creative food. It’s that counter foodie culture. So we try to do things that we think will be a little zany, off the wall and primarily sandwiches.” Events catered by the Crum’s truck include the Metro Spirit Craft Beer Festival at Patriots Park in Evans, Ga.; the Aiken, S.C., Bluegrass Festival; and several weddings. Similar to Brown Bag, the Crum’s truck has a really popular dish – a sandwich called The Jiffy Pig, which consists of pulled, smoked pork with crunchy peanut butter, chopped onions, cilantro and a sweet chili sauce. However, Augusta is a tough market for food trucks, Crumrine said. There’s no real place to conduct a food truck rodeo, which is a gathering of four or five food trucks in one area where customers can go to them, because the trucks are too big to simply pull up alongside buildings in the area, and there’s an ordinance stopsee TRUCKS on PAGE 5
chance to win money. They were also invited to A Crash Course in College Life, which included skits and more games. While many freshmen felt mixed emotions about their first week at Georgia Regents, Anna Dresser said she felt positive. “My first week has been really exciting,” she said. Everyone was really helpful, and it’s been a lot of fun getting to meet new people on campus.” Live entertainment assistant director for the Jaguar Produc-
tion Crew Tyler Schumann said the consolidation of the university has given them more resources to work with, meaning that this year’s Week of Welcome was larger than it had been in the years before. JaguaRave, the bowling event held Friday evening, was one that he said he looked forward to the whole week. “It (was) a pretty successful event,” Schumann said. “The only thing we worried about (was) too many people showing up because there’s only a certain amount of people we could put on each lane.” The free bowling was held at Brunswick International Bowling Lanes in Augusta, Ga. Alongside the midnight bowling being entirely free, transportation was also provided to students living at University Village to and from the event. Nonstudents were also invited to the event with a cover charge of $15. Week of Welcome specifically focused on offering several ways for students to become both introduced and reacquainted with the opportunities available to them at Georgia Regents. “I think that it (was) a really successful week, especially with the transition from ASU to GRU and us having a whole new committee and a lot of new events,” Haskins said. “I actually think we’ve reached a lot more students than we have in the past.” email@example.com
Student Bartenders: Serving up a double shot of education By JAMIE LOWE and REBECCA PERBETSKY webmaster, chief reporter
ife can be hectic for a student, especially if you’re trying to serve dozens of patrons during live mu-
sic events. However, there’s at least one man who’s up for the job in Augusta, Ga. While a student at Georgia Regents University, Albert Omstead also works the nightlife as a bartender at the local venue Sky City. Omstead has worked at Sky City for the last year and is no stranger to bartending downtown. He said he has previously worked at Blue Sky Kitchen downtown as well. “Working at Sky City is entertaining,” Omstead said. “There’s really never a dull moment. The people who work here all have the
JAMIE LOWE | STAFF
Albert Omstead pours up another round of drinks.
same humor so about 80 percent of the time that I’m working, I’m laughing.” When Omstead isn’t at Sky City serving drinks, in class listening to lectures or participating in labs, he said he is also working at a pharmacy to try to gain more experience as he enters his career field before he graduates. The attitude that Omstead displays at work is not what one would think a student working two jobs would normally have, said Coco Rubio, the co-owner of Sky City. “Omstead is very laid-back and calm,” Rubio said. “He’s a Braves fan, so he fits in around here. He gained experience at Bee’s Knees so when he came here he could make some really good drinks.” However, not all college students have to balance the bartending life and school. Some students only bartend for restaurants while school is not in session. Hillary Laird, a former bartender for Robbie’s Sports Bar, said she doesn’t mix school and work. “I was bartending at a restaurant in the mornings on days I didn’t have school,” Laird said. “When I actually bartended for Robbie’s, I wasn’t in school.” When working at Robbie’s, she said she would either come in at 8 or 10 p.m. and wouldn’t leave until 3 a.m. “It is hard to say if I could have bartended at Robbie’s while going to school,” Laird said. “I am sure it would have depended on the schedule of my classes. If my first class was at noon, that would have been doable.” Other students, like former University of Maryland student Stacy Lambroia, only went to school part time. “I only took two classes a semester because I worked full time,” she said. “I went to school part time, worked full time and I alsee BARTENDER on PAGE 5
THE BELL RINGER
Professor finds art in teaching Around
By NIKKI SKINNER production assistant
Georgia Regents University art professor has made an impact on students while also maintaining his career as an artist. In 1996, Tom Crowther started his journey taking classes at the former Augusta College, unsure of where he wanted to go with his future. After enrolling in some art classes as an undergraduate, he decided to major in painting and drawing. In 2002, he decided to attend graduate school at Radford University in Virginia. “I decided I wasn’t done,” Crowther said. “I felt as though I was just beginning to grasp what art was about.” During his time at Radford, he said he received his Master of Fine Arts in painting and drawing. After graduating, he started teaching. He said he realized being a teacher and an artist at the same time can sometimes make for a nice challenge. “Making sure to meet the needs of each student (is important) because they are all different and have different backgrounds,” Crowther said. “A lot of it is subjective. At the end of the day, some of my professional opinion has to be used.” Making sure to stay honest with the students about their progression is important, he said. There have even been some nonart students who have switched or made art their minor due to this. “It is great when you see students producing work they are proud of or when they see that
Death of the Drive-In By JAMIE LOWE staff writer
NIKKI SKINNER | STAFF
Chadwick Tolley and Tom Crowther gather during the Faculty Art Show Thursday to critique students’ artwork.
spark of interest,” Crowther said. “It’s also great to see your students get their own work in shows or go on to teach.” Crowther has the ability to make the students feel like friends since he is so laid back and that makes students want to do the work, said Jasmine Cruz, a senior photography and printmaking major. He is laid back in the right areas, and he is good at knowing when someone needs to be pushed. He really knows how to relate to students, said Sydney Ewerth, a recent art graduate. His tendency to joke around with the students helps make him more approachable. “I think he has a genuine interest in helping students gain what they need from his classes,” Ewerth said. “He seems to do whatever he needs to make sure we, as students, learn the material and got something out of the class. He definitely
ter, to me, is really interesting.” His artwork is more expressive and personal than most, Cruz said. He has technique and knows how to use it, but he doesn’t let that limit him. He isn’t worried about perfect straight lines, she said. Since finding time for art can be difficult. Crowther said he uses holidays and breaks and is usually found in his home studio creating work. “Although there are ups and downs in academia, I have to say I am glad I can say my job does not feel like a chore,” Crowther said. The ability to work with such a great staff also helps, he said. Although the department may not be as big as those at Savannah College of Art and Design or the University of Georgia, the small classes give the teachers more one-on-one time with their students.
CONTINUED from PAGE 4 ping them from taking food trucks downtown. However, Crumrine said he believes that if the other trucks in the area could take the time to work together they could maybe get something going. Alongside Crums and Brown Bag, Rooster’s Beak, a popular local establishment known for its use of local products, also started a truck in 2011. “At the time, we thought it would enrich our current business through providing some sort of lunch offering,” said Jonathan Marks, the owner and head chef. “Then, most importantly our inability to do special events, catering, stuff like that.” Also like the other two, Marks said their truck typically has a different menu than
knows how to make class memorable.” Although he spends much of his time teaching, he still finds time for art afterward. However, sometimes it’s a struggle to balance both, Crowther said. “I’ve found that teaching gets me excited to go home and create my own work,” he said. Crowther is currently in the process of working on a solo show, which opens Sept. 6 at the Artist Local 1155, located in downtown Augusta, Ga. The show is a retrospect full of collections of his works, he said. The viewer can expect to see anything from landscapes to the human form. “I have always been a fan of his work,” Ewerth said. “I like his use of texture and color. I think his style and color palette pair really well together, and the subject mat-
CONTINUED from PAGE 4
what they offer at the building, which tends to consist of tacos, apple soda, beer and ice cream. One of the most popular dishes from the truck menu is a vegan kale taco, which consists of spiced kale and mushrooms. Like Crumrine and Romero, Marks believes that being unable to actually open up near buildings is a detriment to the potential for food trucks in the area, as is the typical lack of foot traffic in Augusta, usually only alleviated during events like First Friday. Food trucks are big hits in big cities nowadays, but it looks like in order to really get everyone’s engines running, the ones currently established in Augusta will have to work together even as they compete against each other.
ways had a part-time job. I only bartended on the weekends, like from Thursday to Sunday.” Because she took classes part time, it took her 13 years to finish school while working full time and bartending part time, Lambroia said. Not all students are like Omstead when it comes to balancing work and school, but with hard work and a love for bartending it is easy to see why Omstead isn’t quitting yet. “Working at Sky City is the bomb,” Omstead said. “But no, really, it’s awesome.” Along with loving his job, Rubio said Omstead has fun at his job, and it’s easy for him. When Omstead isn’t working during the day or bartending at Sky City during the night he is also playing in his band Eat Lightning. The band has been together since 2008, but they play
infrequently due to long distances between the band members. “Omstead is big in the music scene,” said Matt Porter, an occasional employee at Sky City. “His connection with music helps him. He knows the band people and can hear easily over loud music.” It is easy to see why Omstead isn’t giving up his bartending gig for a pharmacy jacket anytime soon. “The people that work here are such an electric mix,” Omstead said. “Usually I’m laughing at something someone said or did trying to be funny.” Omstead said the best advice he can give to fellow students who are working while attending school is to try and balance the two and know what is more important to you.
n the tail of summer, I’m missing visits to the drive-in movie theater. It’s true, the Big Mo in Monetta, S.C., is a lengthy drive and a multi-hour excursion. Long distance isn’t the only thing that will be stopping patrons from attending drive-in movie theaters soon, though. The film industry in America is moving along with technology and switching its projecting methods from film to digital. While this could mean many great things, one consequence of new digital projection is sure – several of the nation’s drivein movie theaters will have to close their fields. The cost of the conversion from film to digital is too expensive for many of the drive-in theaters to afford. Honda Motor Company recently estimated that the price of the conversion for drive-in movie theaters would total about $80,000. In light of this crisis for these American icons, Honda initiated Project Drive-In and has pledged to donate five of the digital projecting systems to selected drive-in movie theaters around the country to the drive-in theaters with the highest number of votes from the project’s website. Honda has also initiated a “pop-up drive-in movie theater” tour, bringing a drive-in movie theater to those who do not have access to one locally. Project Drive-In is a community-based fundraiser, asking patrons to pledge to visit a drive-in this season and make donations to the project, which go directly to theaters as well as hosting an immense social media project to rally support and excitement for the project. Now, you could say that Honda initiated the project for self-serving reasons because you can’t go to the drive-in without a car, now can you? But I’d like to think this isn’t the case and that Honda really cares about preserving these giant American icons. Either way, I’ve cast my vote in Project Drive-In and hope to be able to see the second Man of Steel film at the Big Mo because seeing the first one there was an incredible experience. firstname.lastname@example.org
RICHARD ADAMS | STAFF
To read about the 21st annual India Day, hosted at the Georgia Regents University Maxwell Performing Arts Theater Aug. 17, visit www.asubellringer.com.
Construction workers create their own spin on Southwest flavor By MIKE LEPP contributor
he owners of Diablo’s Southwest Grill are bringing Southwest flavor to Augusta, Ga., with an emphasis on freshness. Brandon Wall, a co-owner of Diablo’s, said the preparation of the food is constantly going on. “We’re not pulling meat out of frozen bags and putting them in the serve line,” he said. “It’s all a continuous prep model.” The preparation is on full display just behind the counter, where an employee can be seen cooking up steak on a gas grill that uses the heat from pepper-soaked apple wood, setting them apart from other Southwest-themed restaurants, Wall said. A patron to the restaurant, Daniel Burroughs, said the difference is clear to him as well. “I get the steak burrito a lot, and I noticed a big difference in quality from other restaurants,” he said. Stephen Dyer, also a patron, said the steak is like what one would make at home. The idea of this restaurant is one that Wall said he and his co-owners, John Wall Jr. and Carl Wallace, have dreamed of for the past five years.
NIKKI SKINNER | STAFF
Diablo’s Southwest Grill is bringing new flavor to West Augusta in the form of build-your-own tacos.
“It evolved over the years into Diablo’s,” Wall said. “We always wanted a quick-serve environment. We looked at different genres of it and finally settled on Southwestern.” Though none of the owners had background experience in restaurants, they were up to the challenge of building it. All have at least 10 years of experience in construction at Augusta Granite Company in Grovetown, Ga. With their experience, they designed all of the copper tables as well as the countertops and tables in the kitchen.
While the décor goes a long way toward creating a welcoming atmosphere, Wall said that Facebook helped to establish a fan base before the doors were even open. Weeks before its grand opening, the owners held a “FacebookFan” night, which was exclusive to those who liked the restaurant’s Facebook page. More than 100 people came in that night alone, he said. The social media hype didn’t end there, though. The owners have set up specials for people
who become a fan of them on Facebook, one of which involves taking a photo of a friend on the horse saddle in the corner of the restaurant and tagging Diablo’s when it’s posted online. Wall said the specials would vary from week to week. Special select food will also be selected each month for the restaurant to serve during that time period. The first special introduced was shrimp, which became a very popular ingredient for customers, he said. The idea to provide specials each month gives them the chance to experience with meats ranging from duck to bison. “You don’t see that stuff anywhere around here,” Wall said. “It’s something different that can get people’s attention.” Also unique to Diablo’s is the phone- charging ports available at every booth, something that was inspired by lunch breaks they would take during construction, he said. “We would always have to stay in trucks to charge our phones while we ate lunch,” Wall said. “So we thought it would be a great idea to offer the ability to plug your phone up and charge it while you eat lunch.” The restaurant also has definite plans for expansion, he said. “That is (the) big dream,” Wall said. “We’ve actually been talking about locations two and three already. Hopefully, in another year, we can roll out a second location.”
TUESDAY, AUGUST 27, 2013
The Silver Screen: Then and Now Across
5. Voice of Shifu 6. 2008 Lex Luthor 12. Last was ‘coincidence’; 1921 13. World War Z 18. “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!” 20. Junior Bonner; ultimate ‘60s ‘bad boy’ 21. Son of a pharmacist, ultimate cowboy (1907-1979) 22. 1974’s Jay Gatsby 23. Aragorn 24. My funny Valentine
Down 1. Big break in “The Last Command” (1928) 2. “Say hello to my little friend!” 3. Dr. Jack Mickler 4. Big Lebowski, Tron, True Grit 7. American immigrant; played in “Sunset Blvd.” 8. Tokyo Joe 9. Uncle Ben, 2012 10. Successful in Vaudeville & Broadway with sister, Adele 11. Famous silent film star; “The Kid” 14. Groundhog Day 15. Director of Midnight in Paris 16. Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid 17. Plays Ryan Newman with a neurotic dog-friend. 19. Edna Turnblad, Bolt, Woody Stevens
Mapping out campus madness
MAP GRAPHIC BY JACQUELYN PABON
THE BELL RINGER
Balancing players’ talent and character By JORDAN WILLIAMS sports editor Ability may get a player noticed, but it doesn’t guarantee a scholarship. When college coaches scour the country searching for top prospects, the first priority is to figure out if the athlete is gifted. Once it is determined that a potential recruit has what it takes to compete at the collegiate level, then comes the questions of academics and personal interest. It is at this crossroads where coaches must choose whether to roll the dice or bet it safe, said Dip Metress, Georgia Regents University men’s head basketball coach. Numerous universities have had success by collecting the best players in the country but eventually have to deal with sanctions due to violations of NCAA rules by student athletes; recent examples are Ohio State and the University of Southern California. The first objective when studying incoming athletes is to see if players have talent, Metress said, and the second is to figure out if they can succeed at a research one institution. The third question is if their work ethic is up to par and then follows an investigation into more personal matters. When attempting to get a sense of his recruits’ personalities, Metress said he relies on observing personal interactions. He said that his methods include attempting to watch them in numerous situations, such as at their high schools, at their homes and on official visits to campus. Although the blueprint to his methods is solid, Metress admitted that it can still be a challenge trying to judge the character of a player when there is limited visibility. “Yeah, sometimes they hide it,” he said about the difficulty of determining the true character of young athletes. “Just like anything, you’re going to make some mistakes along the way, but along the same lines, usually your gut feeling is close to being accurate.” In a nut shell, softball head coach Melissa Mullins described the thinking behind head coaches when recruiting athletes. Initial interest is drawn from athletes’ talent, and throughout the recruiting process they search for indicators that will show a player’s
honest identity, she said. Red flags can pop up on coaches’ radar when talking to the player of interest’s high school coaches and also through social media. Mullins said she utilizes social media by looking at the pictures prospects post on Facebook and the things they brag about doing or being a part of as high school students. During the official visits, Mullins said she also takes notes of how the young talents speak to their parents. “Ultimately, how they treat their parents as an authority in their life is how they’re going end up treating me as a head coach,” she said. After learning as much as possible about a potential signee, a decision must be made: whether to offer a scholarship and a rare opportunity to compete at the collegiate level or to hold it for the next prospect. At this point the question is not of the skill set but if said player can adjust to the independence and distractions of college life. Women’s head basketball coach Nate Teymer said that sometimes he will take a risk and offer a scholarship to a highly talented player, but the risks are mostly related to academics rather than character issues. “Usually, they have to be pretty good kids or some kids that maybe haven’t come from the best background, so they don’t truly understand,” Teymer said. “But if you think they have the potential to become high-character kids, then we’ll take a chance on them.” Once the decision has been made, the head coach has another young player to shape and mold into an exceptional athlete and human being. If Teymer wants to discipline a player, he will not only sentence them to extra running drills but also attempt to instill that he expects better. However, if the
The sideline report Unleash the pigskin, fire up the marching band JORDAN WILLIAMS sports editor email@example.com
message is not received, Teymer said the next step is dismissal from the program. Other forms of discipline practiced by coaches include taking away playing time. “Usually if they like basketball, you take basketball from them,” Metress said. “If they’re not going to class or not turning assignments in (and) if you withhold basketball, often they’ll respond better.” When a program has a group of players that can police themselves, it makes it easier to represent the university in the right way. Jaguars’ junior guard and leading scorer Ryan Weems is a veteran player who leads by example. “If anything, I’ll pull somebody to the side and talk to them, more than try to yell at people,” Weems said. As the most valuable player of the men’s basketball team and the 2013 male student-athlete of the year, Weems attempts to make sure everybody is handling responsibilities on and off the court and is not involved in illegal activities. Having team captains like Weems who take on so much responsibility makes every player accountable and goes a long way in achieving championship success.
College football quickly approaches, with opening kickoff between South Carolina and North Carolina only a couple of days away. The AP top 25 poll was recently released, but longtime fans can easily testify to how useless the preseason rankings will be in a few weeks, mainly because it is a sport where huge upsets are expected every week. Therefore, the current AP poll should not be taken to heart. Nonetheless, it is still a starting point for a season full of possibilities, and I will shed light on the teams I believe could seriously make a championship run, starting first with Alabama. The Crimson Tide is the only team deserving of its preseason rank. Reason one is that they are the two-time national champions; second, they have head coach Nick Saban; third, they have a quarterback with experience and the list could go on and on. Every year Nick Saban unleashes a plethora of talent into the NFL and then reloads on more superior talent and SEC freaks of nature. The schedule also works in their favor, with Texas A&M being Bama’s toughest on-the-road challenge, and LSU, the toughest opponent on the schedule at home. The rest of the teams that will face Alabama are not even ranked among the top 25. Now moving on to Ohio State, a team that achieved a meaningless undefeated record last year due to NCAA sanctions. The electrifying and Heisman-hopeful quarterback, Braxton Miller, led the Buckeyes to a 12-0 record last year, and now the expectations of a No. 1-ranked football team. However, there are some concerns about the Buckeyes when it comes to playing for a national title. Can they win the
Big 10 championship? Sure, but is it possible to repeat another undefeated season when the games really matter? Even last year the Buckeyes escaped with very close wins, and the ball will not be guaranteed to bounce their way this year. On the West coast, the Stanford Cardinals have an intimidating defense, which ranked 11th overall in points against last year, and an old school smash mouth running game that will keep them in the fold. It also doesn’t hurt that they open up the season against San Jose State and Army. The Cardinals’ toughest part of the schedule begins Oct. 19, with a brutal four-game stretch beginning against UCLA, then Oregon State and Oregon in the middle, and ending with hated rival the USC Trojans. If they can remain undefeated through Nov. 30, Notre Dame will gladly play spoiler in another rival matchup that is guaranteed to be competitive. Of course, I have to show love to the Georgia Bulldogs, who came oh so close to playing Notre Dame in South Beach last season. Senior quarterback Aaron Murray turned down the opportunity to play in the NFL all for the chance of competing for a college championship. The Bulldogs have a roster full of talent, but their only problem is facing an extremely tough schedule. Out of the gate, the Bulldogs will be challenged with an opener against Clemson, and then South Carolina. As if that isn’t enough, they also host a game against LSU and their voracious defense Sept. 28. Life in the SEC is never easy, but maybe the pressure from the all big games will transform UGA into a diamond.
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Coach attempts to blend youth and experience By REBECCA PERBETSKY chief reporter The Georgia Regents University volleyball team is at it again, and this year they have some fresh faces along with some veteran players who will make a great match up in the season opener against Erskine Sept. 6 in Savannah, Ga., at the Armstrong Classic. Head coach Sharon Bonaventure said the team is very young in both the setter and libero defensive positions. “We have six newbies and eight returners,” Bonaventure said. “We have two key positions that we are young in, but we have a lot of veteran leadership in the middle and outside and right side positions. So right now we are working to stabilize those two positions, because around those two, everything else transpires and functions, from the defensive end of things to the offensive end of things.” According to the coach, the team has a core group of veteran players who know the game, the style of coaching and the playing needed to lead the younger players into the season and become Georgia Regents volleyball. One of those veterans Bonventure is talk-
ing about is senior Jenna Keeler, who transferred from Cameron after her sophomore year. Keeler has played previously with some of the girls on the team and said she knows what Bonaventure expects of her team. As a senior and All-Conference Player, Keeler said she wants to come in ready to learn things and to just be ready for criticism and to be there for the new players and help them learn too. “I want to show them how coach wants it done her certain way and to lead by example,” Keeler said. “I want to be encouraging to them and tell them, ‘It’s OK. You’re going to make mistakes and you’re going to get yelled at and you’re going to have to run. But it’s all OK in the end.’” The Peach Belt Conference preseason coaches’ poll has the Lady Jags picked fourth in the standings after finishing 19-15 overall and 6-8 in conference play last year. In 2012, the team reached the semifinal round of the PBC Tournament for the first time since 2007 and hope to carry that momentum into the 2013 campaign.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 27, 2013
Baseball coach slides into home By REBECCA PERBETSKY chief reporter As a new university is officially introduced so is a new head coach. Over the summer, the Georgia Regents baseball team began to experience the effects of the change in leadership. Jason Eller was named the new head coach for the baseball team July 1. To Joey Warren, the athletic media relations director at Georgia Regents, the reason for the change was because Eller brings a fresh perspective to the team. “He knows talent,” Warren said. “Jason is very knowledgeable about the game of baseball. He has had to work his way up the ladder.” Georgia Regents University Augusta Director of Athletics Clint Bryant said in a press release that there was a tremendous turnout during the school’s search for a new head coach. “We brought five outstanding candidates to our campus, each of whom was capable of leading our program,” Bryant said. “I am confident after much contemplation and deliberation that we have found an excellent coach in Jason, who is ready to make his own mark.” Before coming to Georgia Regents, Eller worked for the University of Georgia. He said there were certain things that he learned and also things he would have liked to do
NEIL DAVENPORT | PHOTOGRAPHER
Jason Eller, the fifth new head coach for Georgia Regents University Augusta baseball in the program’s 48-year history, is getting his first head-coaching opportunity after spending 11 seasons on the Georgia Bulldogs coaching staff.
differently. “As an assistant coach, you’re always trying to learn and get better,” Eller said. “I had the opportunity of working with one of the best (head coaches) in David Perno.” Warren said Eller ran a big part of the baseball program at the University of Georgia, and even though he wasn’t the head coach he had a lot of the responsibilities that a head
coach would normally handle. Even though Eller is coming from an assistant coach position at a Division-I school, he said he doesn’t want to change anything that the Jaguars did in the past. “I know it’s a big-time conference, the Peach Belt, and I know it’s big-time baseball,” Eller said. “So I really didn’t want to change anything that we did in the past.”
Even though Eller is new to the Jaguar team, he still has the same expectations any head coach would have of his players. “I told them the other day, why can’t we win the Peach Belt Conference, why can’t we win the national championship?” Eller said. “I don’t see why it can’t be us. I feel like we are going to try to do it like Texas does it and like LSU does it, like
Georgia does it, and try and be one of the best schools in our conference and one of the best schools in the nation.” Eller said that baseball is a mental game and that it’s an attitude thing. “There’s some talent involved, but baseball is a thinking man’s game,” he said. “It’s a mentally challenging situation that if they think the right stuff they attract the right stuff, and the right stuff shows up.” The team had their first team meeting Aug. 19, and the players had their first conditioning session Friday, Eller said. “They did very well,” he said. “They gave a good effort.” Warren said that Eller has new ideas about how to do things here, and part of that is bringing in new players. However, new players aren’t the only people that Eller is bringing to the field next spring. “We have two new assistant coaches,” Eller said. “We have Mark Mortimer, who is the assistant hitting coach, who played pro ball for the Atlanta Braves, and Robbie Walkman, who played for the Cincinnati Reds.” With a new coaching staff in place, Eller is getting his team ready for preseason practices and training in hopes that this next season will be one to remember for the new Georgia Regents Jaguars.
Keeler gets set to lead Jags to volleyball victory By MINDY WADLEY copy editor The Lady Jaguars volleyball team may be young, but they have some solid leadership in returning senior Jenna Keeler. Keeler is one of few returning players on this year’s roster. Coming off the heels of last season, when she was named an All-Conference Player and MVP for the Lady Jags, Keeler said she is excited to fill the leadership role left open by last year’s team, which consisted of several seniors. “We had a lot of older girls who knew what they were doing,” Keeler said. “We meshed well as a team.” Before joining the Lady Jaguars, Keeler attended Cameron in Lawton, Okla. She played volleyball there for two years before deciding to look for another program and transfer schools. She said Georgia Regents turned out to be the perfect fit. “I’m from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.,” Keeler said. “I liked that (Georgia Regents) was closer to home. I had more opportunity to be on the court. I came on a visit, and I liked the town, I liked Coach Bonaventure and I liked the girls.” Keeler said her height and her athletic background is what drew her to play volleyball as a child. “I’m tall,” she said. “I’m 6 (foot) 1. I started in middle school. I also like
MINDY WADLEY | STAFF
Six-foot-1, Jenna Keeler sets up for a spike.
that it’s an indoor sport because I played softball for most of my life too. I’m competitive, so I loved it a lot.” That competitive drive has helped Keeler develop leadership skills both on and off the court. She is an elementary education major, which Keeler said has led her to learn to encourage the younger girls on the team. “We only have two returning starters, and I’m the only senior,” Keeler said. “I like to lead by example. I’m not going to be the one screaming at someone. I’d rather just do it and show them how it’s done.” Learning to balance a demanding training regimen and an equally challenging academic load was a vital element to Keeler’s success as an athlete, she said. “It’s all about time management,” Keeler said. “It’s actually easier in the fall because you know when you have to do your homework, when you have to study, because you know when practices are and you know when your classes are.” The head women’s volleyball coach, Sharon Bonaventure, agreed that Keeler has an excellent work ethic when it comes to both her studies and her athleticism. “Academically, she’s very strong,” Bonaventure said. “She knows what is needed in the classroom, and she knows what the expectation is on the court. It’s nice to know that, in a senior, you don’t have to look over their shoulder. You don’t have to stay on top of them.” Maggie Darling, a junior biology major, played with Keeler last year and said she is looking forward to another year as teammates. “With her hitting, she’s so consistent,” Darling said. “She always gets it in. Everyone tries to follow that lead and keep the ball on the court.” Both Darling and Keeler, along with their coach, said they are looking forward to seeing how this season progresses. Bonaventure said the team is focusing on improving on a day-byday basis, with Keeler encouraging her teammates every step of the way. “She knows what it takes, and she knows what leadership skills she needs to possess,” Bonaventure said. “This is her last year of playing, so why not go out with a bang and lead this team of eight returners and six new players?”
Arena court makeover Completion of the new playing surface for GRU Augusta Athletics was the final piece in submitting its regime. In center court, the renovated Jaguar logo sits bold and proud, along with secondary word marks “Jaguars” and “Augusta” on the baselines and sidelines in navy blue and silver. JORDAN WILLIAMS | STAFF
Gold medalist Olympic swimmer makes a splash in the Augusta area By MINDY WADLEY copy editor Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte stopped by Augusta Swim Supply for a meet and greet session with fans Saturday. Lochte said he was happy to spend the day visiting with fans since he loves being able to give back to the community that supports him. “I love seeing fans,” Lochte said. “When we were driving up, everyone started screaming. That’s awesome. I never thought swimming would ever take me to this point. I love it. I love signing autographs and taking pictures with everyone.” Rebecca Martini, a 9th-grade student at Greenbrier High School, was the first fan in line to meet the Olympian. She said her family arrived at 5:48 a.m. to make sure they would be the first to meet Lochte,
whom she looks up to as a fellow swimmer. “He’s a great person to look up to, a role model,” Martini said. “You watch him on the TV, and it’s like, that’s what I want to do.” Lochte offered advice for young swimmers like Martini. “What I always say to every swimmer is to have fun,” he said. “That’s what life is all about, is having fun. And you never know when it will sell you out short, so just enjoy every moment you can. And that’s what swimming is, having fun.” Martini said she asked Lochte to autograph some swim caps and a kickboard to take home as souvenirs. While Lochte is currently on a month-long hiatus from training, he said he is still very focused on his goals for the 2016 Olympics. He said his victories in the 2012 games fell short of his expectations.
“All I can say is, in 2012, my performance, I thought, was average,” Lochte said. “I know a lot of people might think, ‘You must be crazy. You got five Olympic medals. That’s unheard of,’ but I wasn’t satisfied. I know I can do a lot better and go a lot faster and do more events. It’s just a matter of when and where it will happen.” Lochte said his experiences in the last few years have taught him a lot but that he hasn’t let any of the negative experiences get to him, because he compares life lessons to those he’s learned from swimming. “I don’t always have good swims,” he said. “I have bad swims too. But you’ve just gotta take it as it comes. And just keep moving forward. And that’s what I’ve been doing this past almost two years. Just whatever gets thrown my way, just take it as it happens and just keep going.”
MINDY WADLEY | STAFF
Ryan Lochte, an Olympic gold medalist, signs autographs for fans at Augusta Swim Supply Saturday.