Page 1

The Auburn Plainsman




The Auburn Plainsman Midterm Edition

Fall 2021


Getting involved with a campus organization is a great way to meet others, build your resume and learn skills future employers seek. Whether you are interested in community service, saving the bees, building robots or growing as a leader, Student Involvement has a community for everyone. With more than 550 student-led organizations, we make it easy to discover your path at Auburn.

involvement BRANCHES • • • • •

Service Programs Emerge Leadership Programs Student Governance Student Organizations Student Programming Student Media

Log on to browse all organizations today!


don’t miss

what’s next


Fall 2021

The Auburn Plainsman Midterm Edition

the midterm edition 4 5 6 8 9 10 11 12 13 15

opinion Editorial Ivey uses relief aid against Alabamian’s needs campus What we know about crime at Auburn Age old rivalry fights food insecurity Mother-daughter duo creates dining family Students reflect on experiences coming out community Meet Dr. Maldonado How to walk through Auburn’s haunted past Farmer’s markets bring produce to The Plains Auburn hosts annual city market

16 18 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27

Auburn’s top 10 happy hour spots Mountain bikers take to Chewacla’s trails sports Kim Evans hasn’t left The Plains behind How the Carlson brothers kicked into history Fall sports season highs Fall sports season lows Rating Auburn’s next opponents lifestyle Students compete for business startup capital ‘Almost Twins’paints picture of inclusion Alum builds Auburn block by block



The Auburn Plainsman Midterm Edition

Fall 2021



EDITORIAL: It’s time to do better, Auburn ‘ Every reaction is a performance. There are still bits of glass on the floor from when you dropped it and hastily swept it up. The sharpest parts are still on the floor.’’



Managing Editor, Content

Fall 2021


Wallace Hall is the graphic design building in the village, named after George C. Wallace, who famously said, “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.” In June 2020, Ashley Henton, now an alumna of Auburn, started a petition to get the hall renamed, which has now garnered around 12,000 signatures. “I emailed Dr. Gogue, and I was like here is my petition, and I think at the time that I had just gotten like 11,000 signatures,” Henton said. “He said, ‘Thank you, Ashley,’ and sent it to the Board of Trustees.” Henton knew from then that it would be handed to whatever sub-group that handled renaming buildings. “I kind of like sat by my computer, checking on upcoming minutes for upcoming Board of Trustees meetings to see if it would come up, and it never did, and I checked for months,” she said. “They would rename conference rooms and random rooms after donors, and that was all that happened.” That was true until September, when the Board of Trustees unanimously approved the installation of a plaque outside of Wallace Hall to contextualize the name of the building. The text of the plaque attempts to describe the complexity of Wallace’s legacy including his racist history and apologies for segregationist words and deeds later in his life. Frances Carlisle, fifth-year student in graphic design, made a second petition after the plaque was announced. As of publication, it has 473 signatures. What the resolution and plaque fail to do is recognize the voices of the students that attend Auburn, that have unified and said: We do not want this. What this resolution does do, very well, though — an unintended side effect — is prove to Auburn students what we have always known. Joelle Woggerman, junior in biochemistry, wrote a letter to the editor in late September in response to the town hall on sexual assault titled, “The town hall on sexual assault proved our worst fears.” And it did. The same way the plaque did. There are countless other examples from

Managing Editor, Online

TRICE BROWN Managing Editor, Multimedia

MY LY Community Editor

EMERY LAY Campus Editor

ABIGAIL WOODS Lifestyle Editor

DESTINI AMBUS Opinion Editor

CALEB JONES Sports Editor

MATTISON ALLEN Assistant Sports Editor


ABBY CUNNINGHAM Social Media Editor

CALEB EASON Editorial Cartoonist




FOLLOW US @theauburnplainsman @theAUplainsman

only the past year — a letter titled, “How dedicated is Auburn to its black students?” a letter titled, “Auburn fails to protect students against sexual violence.” What Auburn students have always known, is the University will try to hastily sweep up the mess they made instead of trying to prevent it from happening in the first place. They are reactionary in their attempts rather than facing these issues in a proactive way. The University will opt for placing a BandAid over the crack in the glass instead of trying to use glue. Using glue would be a futile effort to try to repair something broken, but it shows a great deal more effort. The plaque is the Band-Aid. The town hall that many called disastrous was a Band-Aid. They are only meant to appease and silence, they are there to say: Hey, we did something. Isn’t that enough? That line of thinking aligns itself with the definition of performative activism, which seeks to capitalize on a movement for social clout or capital rather than supporting the movement and its demands. Auburn as an institution, can’t be performative activists because we wouldn’t label them as activists wat all. But Auburn is performative in every sense of the word — they act only to elicit a response or reaction. That is the problem. Every reaction is a performance. There are still

bits of glass on the floor from when you dropped it and hastily swept it up. The sharpest parts are still on the floor. In the first month of the 2021 fall semester, three sexual assault cases were reported in the span of a week. Two protests were held in the following days as a response. A town hall to discuss resources and concerns was set the same day the third assault case was sent to students. Auburn Campus Safety and Security, Title IX, Green Dot and Safe Harbor were in attendance, to name a few of the organizations. Title IX, Green Dot and Safe Harbor are and have been taking steps to listen to the concerns of students, to make their presence and services well-known. There have also been students working restlessly with these and other organizations on campus to create tangible changes. Some things need equal parts student buy-in and administrative action, but in every case, the administration could always be doing more. Students will never shut up, they will always demand things and work tirelessly to get it by the grit of their teeth and sheer determination, but the University could always be doing more. Stop giving us flowery words, telling us you’ll do things that most of us don’t even get a glimpse of any progress in the time we’re here. Bureaucracy is slow, some things take time and that is something that everyone can understand, but stop offering us meaningless gestures.


In September, the Board of Tustees unanimously approved to add a plaque to contextualize Wallace Hall.

Fall 2021

The Auburn Plainsman Midterm Edition



Ivey uses COVID relief aid agaisnt Alabamian’s needs By REGAN MOSS Columnist

On Oct. 1, Gov. Ivey signed a bill that will move forward the construction of prisons using federal Covid-19 relief funds. The construction of the prisons is set to take place over the course of the next five years. The prisons will be built in Elmore and Escambia Counties. Gov. Ivey convened a special session to begin Sept. 27 that resulted in the passage of a law on Oct. 1, a timeline unique compared to other special sessions. In Alabama, special sessions typically range over the course of 12 days over a 30-day span; however, this session only lasted five days over the course of a week. Morgan Duckett, senior in industrial design, and co-founder of Alabama Students Against Prisons, noted that the scope of the session was only revealed a few days prior and the “bills were not even filed until the first night of the session, making opposition to any of the bills extremely difficult to organize, as well the intent.” Duckett implies that Gov. Ivey is aware that many Alabamians do not wish to build new prisons:Just earlier this year, ASAP campaigned and

successfully defunded efforts to build new prisons in Alabama. Many students recognize that constructing these new prisons is not in the best interest of the state. They voiced the harms of the criminal justice system in our state and noted that these facilities worsen the health and needs of those that are incarcerated. Others have articulated their concerns as well. The Equal Justice Initiative noted that in Alabama, “people who need medical care, help managing their disabilities, mental health and addiction treatment and suicide prevention are denied care, ignored, punished and placed in solitary confinement.” “If current trends continue, you can expect at least 200 to 300 more homicides, suicides and overdoses as a result of the systemic negligence and abuse that our department of corrections propagates,” Duckett said. “And once the construction is complete, the same deliberately indifferent, homicidal, criminally negligent leadership will be in charge to see the violence continue.” EJI noted that Alabama prisons are inhumane: “[they] do not provide treatment, education or rehabilitation” and instead they escalate violence, deny treatment, escalate abuse, enrich corpora-

tions and routinely violate people’s constitutional rights. Importantly, the construction of the new prisons defies the recommendations made by the Department of Justice in their lawsuit against the state. The Department of Justice stated that “Alabama fails to provide adequate protection from prisoner-on-prisoner violence and prisoner-on-prisoner sexual abuse, fails to provide safe and sanitary conditions, and subjects prisoners to excessive force at the hands of prison staff.” In addition, Alabama prisoners were not provided masks during COVID-19 outbreaks. There were also fewer persons released on parole and a smaller amount of applications for parole were approved. Duckett echoed what others have expressed: rather “than remedying any of the [litanies] of harms caused by the pandemic,” Gov. Ivey chose to spend $400 million of federal COVID-19 relief money, a quarter of our 2.1 billion state Covid relief funds, to build two mega-prisons. Rather than address the drastic impact that COVID-19 has had on our state, the funds are partially being allotted elsewhere. If Gov. Ivey were truly concerned with the sta-

tus of prisons, better use of funds would be to improve existing prisons and address the lawsuit charges as made by the Department of Justice. Those facing incarceration are deserving of rehabilitation, education, menstrual products, therapy and other forms of care. Funds should be allocated to expand upon and improve the limited resources currently in place. Resources should help address the cycle of poverty and incarceration as so evident in our state. Duckett noted that less than half of the $400 million would expand Medicaid in the state to cover over 400,000 Alabamians. Ultimately, despite cries from students that our priorities in the criminal justice system should not be to construct new prisons, Ivey persists in her endeavor. “Our elected officials do not legislate in the public’s interest,” Duckett said. “I’m angry that lawmakers open their offices to construction companies and prison lobbyists before ever considering the wishes of directly impacted and currently incarcerated people.” The largely held beliefs of inherent human dignity are suddenly forgotten when discussing those within the prison system.


10 DAY








The Auburn Plainsman Midterm Edition

Fall 2021


What we know about crime at Auburn By EVAN MEALINS Editor-in-Chief

Auburn University released its Annual Security and Fire Safety Report on Oct. 1, a collection of reported crimes on the University’s campus in 2020. Fewer crimes were committed on Auburn’s campus for most major offenses in 2020 compared to the previous year, according to the report. Each year, Auburn and all other higher education institutions are required to publish this report under the Clery Act, a federal law passed in 1992. These reports show the number of crimes that were committed in the University’s “Clery geography,” the property owned or otherwise recognized by the University — including campus buildings, student housing, fraternity houses and public streets on or adjacent to campus. The Clery Act has idiosyncrasies to it: if multiple crimes occur during the same incident, they aren’t necessarily all counted, except for sex offenses, except for rape, arson, domestic and dating violence and stalking. Crimes are also defined differently than under state law. Still, the report does provide a picture of what Auburn’s campus was like last year. There were several offenses for which no crimes were reported in 2020: murder, manslaughter, incest, statutory rape and dating violence. Since none of these offenses were reported in 2018 or 2019 either, with the exception of a murder/non-negligent manslaughter in 2018 and two manslaughters by negligence in 2019, they do not appear in Graph 1. The reason no cases of dating violence appear is a matter of how the Clery Act intersects with state law. Ten rapes, three cases of fondling, 13 aggravated assaults and 43 cases of stalking were reported in the University’s Clery geography. Two hate crimes were also reported on Auburn’s campus last year. Here is the description of the hate crimes from the report: “There were two reported intimidation crimes with a bias of race that occurred on public property. The first incident involved an individual using racial slurs and threatening to shoot someone after an argument outside a downtown establishment. The second incident involved an individual yelling negative comments at an anti-racism group and driving his vehicle near the group in an intimidating fashion.” Clery defines a hate crime as “a criminal offense that manifests evidence that the victim was intentionally selected because of the perpetrator’s bias against the victim’s race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, national origin and/or disability.” Nearly all of the primary crimes in the above chart, ex-

cept for fondling, were reported equal or fewer times in 2020 than in 2019. According to Susan McCallister, director of Campus Safety & Compliance, most of the differences are a normal variation in crimes that we can expect to see each year. There is a certain expected range that the number of crimes will fall into for each offense. Generally, a small change is nothing outside of the norm. One instance that stood out to McCallister, though, is the number of burglaries that were reported. “That is most likely just because we didn’t have as many people living on campus,” McCallister said. When students were sent home in spring 2020 due to the pandemic, the likelihood of a crime being committed on the University’s Clery geography fell. But perhaps the pandemic didn’t have as much of an effect as some expected. “I was really, I think, a little bit surprised that there wasn’t more of an impact from COVID,” McCallister said. But the University was open in the summer and fall, so McCallister said it makes sense that numbers were “pretty close to what they have been in the past.” The report also includes arrests and violations of alcohol, drug and weapons laws. Clery defines liquor law violations as “the violation of state or local laws or ordinances prohibiting the manufacture, sale, purchase, transportation, possession or use of alcoholic beverages.” Notably, this does not include charges such as driving under the influence or drunkenness. It does, however, include charges such as a minor in possession of alcohol. Forty-two people were arrested for liquor law violations in the University’s Clery geography, down 43 from 2019, while 237 people were referred for disciplinary action for liquor law violations. Once again, part of the reason for this goes back to the pandemic. With fewer large in-person events like tailgates and football games to drink at, fewer were arrested for alcohol violations. “I don’t think the alcohol consumption necessarily changed dramatically, but maybe it was in different places where it wasn’t as public,” McCallister said. Seventy-three people were arrested and 30 were refered for disciplinary action for drug law violations. Nine people were arrested and one was referred for disciplinary action for weapons law violations. No fires were reported on Auburn’s campus. What the report doesn’t show When looking at the numbers, it’s easy to think that a lower number of reported crimes means that less crimes occurred, which is generally true — but not always. Rape, fondling and other forms of sexual assault are wellknown to be underreported — 20% of college-aged women report to police if they are raped. At Auburn and any other college, there are invariably more cases of sexual assault

than those that are reported. “A low number doesn’t necessarily mean that the crime’s not happening,” McCallister said. An increase in reported cases of sexual assault may be indicative of an increased willingness to report these crimes, rather than an increase in sexual assaults themselves. “I don’t want to see the numbers go up, but we do want to see more people report if things are happening to them,” McCallister said. “We really want people to tell us, even if they report things and don’t want to take any action, at least we can include the information in our crime statistics.” Due to the Clery Act’s broader definitions of crime, the number of crimes reported for other offenses may be higher than they would be if counted under state laws. “There’s a big disconnect there between the state law,

Graph 1: Primary Crimes at Auburn, 2018-2020


Fall 2021

The Auburn Plainsman Midterm Edition


CAMPUS which is there for holding people criminally accountable, and the federal law, which is there for us to have stats and statistics that can be compared across institutions,” McCallister said. For example, motor vehicle thefts include joy rides taken on campus golf carts. One year, she recalled, a student took a drive in one campus golf cart after the other. After he was caught, each golf cart he drove was counted as a separate motor vehicle theft under the Clery Act. Most of the Clery definitions are of broader scope than the definitions in Alabama law. “There are a lot of different things that go into the categories that may not be what you would typically think,” McCallister said. Finally, this report doesn’t tell us how many times an offender was arrested, except for liquor, drug and weapons law violations. However, McCallister said the number of arrested offenders is low. “Often, there is not an offender identified,” she said. “If there is ... it may be up to the victim to decide whether or not they want to sign a warrant. So, you may get in a fight with somebody and have to have a few stitches, and that’s gonna be an aggravated assault, but maybe it’s somebody that you know, and you decide, ‘I don’t really want to press charges against them.’ So that person would never be arrested for that crime.” Comparing schools One benefit of the Clery Act and its generally standardized definition of crimes and how they are counted is that it allows for comparison between different universities. Crime reporting, though, is not an exact science, and in some ways these security reports, while the best thing available, are a bit of a blunt instrument. Differences in culture, campus layout, the share of students that live on campus and size of Clery geography can all contribute to differences that make such comparisons somewhat difficult. “There’s so many different factors as far as the nature of the campus and the types of programs they offer and the demographics of the students,” McCallister said. “Some campuses have your traditional age, some have more adult learners … Even though you’re supposed to be able to compare apples to apples, it does make it hard to do a true comparison.” Many times, differences in the number of crimes reported comes down to how they are categorized — whether a case of relationship violence is considered dating or domestic violence, for example. Unlike most schools, Auburn chooses to classify all instances of relationship violence that would otherwise be considered dating violence as domestic violence. This is because domestic violence is one of few offenses that the Clery Act defines in terms of state or local law. The Clery Act instructs universities to include in its counts of domestic violence all cases that would be reported as such under state law, and Alabama law has no statute regarding dating violence, specifically, so those types of crimes are counted as domestic violence. McCallister said Campus Safety was instructed by a Clery Compliance Officer to report all instances of dating violence as domestic violence.

For this reason, dating violence and domestic violence have been combined into one category for a more accurate comparison between universities. Comparison between schools with demographics and culture similar to Auburn is still useful, McCallister said, and is something that Campus Safety has done in the past. Included in the chart are Auburn and the six other SEC schools closest geographically to Auburn — the University of Alabama, University of Georgia, University of Florida, University of South Carolina, Mississippi State University and the University of Tennessee. Because of differences in enrollment in fall 2020 between universities, the number of offenses per 1,000 students is used as a comparison. Offenses for which no crimes were reported at any university in 2020 are not included in this graph. These are murder, manslaughter, incest and statutory rape. Compared to these other six schools, Auburn had the highest rate of aggravated assault and stalking in 2020. Focusing specifically on what Clery defines as either sex offenses or violence against women — rape, fondling, domestic and dating violence and stalking — Auburn had some of the most reports. Adding up each school’s rank in those four categories based on crimes reported per 1,000 students, Auburn was the second worst, behind only the University of Tennessee. Compared to the other six universities, Auburn was much tougher on alcohol, drugs and weapons in 2020, arresting people at the highest rate in all three categories. Looking ahead While McCallister said that Campus Safety uses crime statistics throughout the year to inform their policies, the Annual Security and Fire Safety Report is a good chance to look back and notice any patterns that may arise. “We might recognize a pattern and decide that there’s some other safety program we can put in place, or maybe we need to enhance our security camera system in a certain area,” McCallister said. As she has tracked crime data this fall, McCallister said that the number of reported crimes has been lower than she was expecting. “It seems like our arrests and reports overall are lower,” McCallister said. “I expected them to go up quite a bit for this semester because people had not been able to be out interacting as much.” According to the University’s Crime Log, there have been seven rapes reported in Auburn’s Clery geography in 2021 that are classified as rape under the Clery Act. There have been three cases of fondling, 10 aggravated assaults, nine cases of stalking, five cases of domestic violence, one robbery, nine burglaries and four motor vehicle thefts. No instances of the other primary Clery offenses have been reported. Editor’s Note: All information included occurred on Auburn University’s main campus. No crimes as defined by the Clery Act were reported at other Auburn campuses (this does not include Auburn University Montgomery).

Graph 2: Comparison of Other Schools



The Auburn Plainsman Midterm Edition

Fall 2021



Beat Bama Food Drive members pose with a food drop-off truck at the Auburn Kroger.


Aubie the Tiger poses with a collection barrel at the Auburn Kroger.

Age-old rivalry fights food insecurity By EMERY LAY Campus Editor

The great rivalry between Auburn and Alabama is as old as time. Today, the Beat Bama Food Drive utilizes that rivalry to feed the food insecure. “BBFD started back in 1994 when students decided to band together and take the historic rivalry of Auburn vs. Alabama and let it fuel a cause greater than themselves,” said Jack Wray, president of BBFD. “Our mission is to alleviate food insecurity because we believe no one should ever have to choose between having light in their home, a textbook, a car payment or eating a meal.” Wray said food insecurity affects 1 in 5 people, though with the help of organizations like BBFD, the numbers are closing into 1 in 4. However, Wray said, within the United States, Alabama is the second most food insecure state. “In Lee County alone, there are 26,560 people (including 7,010 children) who struggle to provide for themselves and their families,” BBFD’s website says. BBFD’s goal, according to their website, is to “educate, unite and serve the Auburn University campus and greater surrounding communities by supporting the Food Bank of East Alabama to fight food insecurity,” leveraging the historic rivalry for a positive impact. The University’s Office of Student Involvement partners with the food bank, as well. Craig Young, former director of the West Alabama Food Bank, created this competition and saw how the intense competition between two colleges could be put to good use. Since 1994, BBFD has gathered over 3.6 million pounds of food. In 2020, BBFD’s 27th year, the drive collected 259,160 pounds of food that were donated to the Food Bank of East

Alabama. The total pounds thus far collected by both schools in the past two decades equates to roughly 6 million meals or over 300 tractor-trailer loads. The Food Bank of East Alabama and the West Alabama Food Bank channel these resources into places they serve, such as senior programs, low-income daycares, emergency food pantries, missions and rehabilitation centers. What was once a small event with only 1,000 pounds donated has now blossomed into one of the largest food drives in Alabama. Wray said he learned about BBFD from his fraternity, the Alpha Epsilon Chapter of Alpha Tau Omega, and an older fraternity brother encouraged him to apply. “I immediately fell in love with the initiative and knew from my first day on the concourse that I wanted to be president,” Wray said. “Interacting with the student body, speaking with the Food Bank of East Alabama directors and seeing the impact that I could make with such a passionate group in my new home is what drives my passion for BBFD.” Originally from Atlanta, he said it can be hard to see a community impact in a big city, but at Auburn, he felt he was “a part of something bigger than [him]self.” This year’s drive will be from Oct. 1 to Nov. 18. Collection barrels for food donations will be located all over campus and the Auburn area, including stations at local grocery stores, schools, community stores and off-campus student housing. The BBFD’s marketing department is currently working on graphics to illustrate the locations for the barrels on campus. In addition, there will be neighborhood drives hosted every other week for those who choose to participate in that manner.

Bags will be delivered to alternating neighborhoods on Thursdays and will be picked up by BBFD staff members the following Sunday after 3 p.m. “We plan to stagger our neighborhoods throughout the drive to maximize and promote the connectiveness throughout the community,” Wray said. “We will be sharing graphics for each location and invite the entire Auburn community to join us as we fight food insecurity in our own backyards.” Wray said BBFD hopes this will be a record-breaking year, all while maintaining the true purpose behind what they do. In 2021, BBFD nearly doubled the all-time applicant pool and hopes to see this trend continue in years to come. Wray strongly believes BBFD can exceed the intake from last year. “What Taylor Pierce did as president last year was amazing, especially during COVID,” Wray said. “The COVID year was very difficult for the community with people losing their jobs, and we’ve seen some bounce back, but what hasn’t bounced back is the amount of people that are still struggling with food insecurity.” Donations to the food drive can also be made through monetary funds online. Additionally, there are opportunities to sponsor a marking item with a business logo. T-shirts, buttons or banners can be set up by contacting Other specific business support can be set up via email, as well. “I think that BBFD reflects the Auburn Family by emphasizing and uplifting the community,” Wray said. “The Auburn Creed states, ‘I believe in the human touch which cultivates sympathy with my fellow men.’ Beat Bama Food Drive exemplifies the human touch by fighting to provide every individual access to sustainable and nutritious meals. Having food security for individuals and families across our state should be a right and never a privilege.”

Fall 2021

The Auburn Plainsman Midterm Edition



Mother-daughter duo creates AU dining family By EMMA KIRKEMIER


os ip gil


Ays e


Bi l





they are all avid travelers, regularly going back to visit Istanbul and other cities in Turkey, as well as traveling worldwide. Ayşe said they still have a family home in Istanbul where they stay when they visit. Their extended family still lives in Turkey. Ayşe’s son Murat is a pilot in Turkish airlines, she said, and they visited him last summer in Barcelona, where he was studying at the time. They went to Paris after visiting him. They have also been to Bangkok, Hong Kong, Singapore, New York and Orlando among others, she said. “When I travel, I like everywhere,” Ayşe said. “When I go [to] Paris, I love Paris. When I go [to] Barcelona, I love Barcelona.” Despite their travels, Zeynep said they are happy in Auburn. “I think Auburn is kind of an international city,” Zeynep said. “So many cultures together at the same time.” She said they have seen the city grow over the last 15 years, including more buildings and more traffic. However, the international community has grown with it. “It’s growing; it’s good,” Ayşe said. “I like this.” Ayşe said that if they ever were to move, they would have to “go together” as a family.

every morning. She was getting coffee.” Ayşe said she has even been invited to the wedding of one of her “daughters.” “She is inviting me for her wedding next June,” she said. “And I will go. I will go because I like her. I love her. And before, I gave her a bracelet.” Ayşe explained that she had given a few students, including Glover, an evil eye bracelet for luck. Ayşe implied that the bracelets, which she bought in Turkey, might bring luck specifically for marriage. “She sent me a picture (of her engagement ring): ‘Look, Mrs. Ayşe, your bracelet is with me,’” she said. Ayşe said she has also attended several graduations. In addition to caring for her students, Ayşe often takes care of her granddaughters while Zeynep works in the evenings. Maya and Lara Bilgili, 8 and 11 years old respectively, are students at Creekside Elementary School. The family has no desire to leave Auburn, especially when considering their children. Zeynep said her children were “safe in here.” “We love Auburn,” Ayşe said. Despite living in Auburn for over a decade,




I E R | C A M P U S R E P O RT

















it h

n gra

a l c o ff e e s h o p.

plication together with what, at the time, was very limited English. Because they included both their names, however, both were offered jobs. For Ayşe and Zeynep Bilgili, taking care of Zeynep started immediately, but Ayşe had to Auburn students is a family business. go back to Turkey for about a month. Ayşe Bilgili works at Au Bon Pain in the Before she left, however, they met with a Melton Student Center, and Zeynep Bilgi- manager that Ayşe called “Bob.” li works at Panda Express in Foy Hall. The two He sat them down and had them identify have been constant fixtures in their respective items on a menu written in English. She laughed restaurants on campus for over 14 years. and said they had difficulty identifying the bagel “We know a thousand people,” Zeynep said. because “we have no bagel in Turkey.” “And they know us.” However, Ayşe said he spoke fluent German, They have provided great service, smiling fac- which allowed them to communicate better bees and lasting friendship to countless students, cause she speaks German, Turkish and, now, including Allie Glover, junior in healthcare ad- English. ministration. Ayşe said that connection influenced her de“Mrs. Ayşe treats everybody like her best cision to work for the University upon her refriend,” Glover said. turn to the U.S. While The Plainsman published an article feaAyşe described her first day on the register as turing Zeynep earlier this year, it did not include incredibly difficult, “terrible” in terms of the Enher mother or the close family ties they share. glish she had to learn on the fly, but still “excit“We love each other,” Ayşe said, pulling her ing.” daughter into a playful hug. Both Ayşe and her daughter said learning EnThe family first came from Turkey to Ameri- glish was difficult, including pronouncing Enca when Zeynep’s husband, Ilker – “Ike” – started glish names at work. working as a technician for the University’s poulAyşe said students and coworkers sometimes try science program. laugh when she has trouble with pronunciations, Ayşe decided to enroll Zeynep in English but that some of her students know her and classes, and to keep her from being bored, she know that their name might be difficult. This inalso encouraged her to apply for a job on campus. cludes names like “Robert,” “Katie” and “Peter,” The mother and daughter filled out a job ap- Ayşe said. “I don’t care too much,” she said. “It is different for us. It is difficult, but it’s OK.” Ayşe and her daughter have both worked for Tiger Dining for over a decade now. Across campus, the two are known, whether individually or as a pair, for their hospitality and love. The love is on both ends. “I know [students] love me,” Ayşe said. “I love them.” Glover is one of the many students Bilgili considers her friends, or even her “kids.” “One is from New York,” f Ayşe said. “She text[ed] me in f o pandemic, ‘Mrs. Ayşe, are you lc ca o l Ay OK?’ because she got — somea se at B il g ver where — coffee, and she [rememo l ili p o s e G s w it h A lli e bered] about me. “She was coming Campus Reporter

a lo c e r at


The Auburn Plainsman Midterm Edition

Fall 2021


‘I want to share my life with you’

students reflect on their coming out experiences

By TRICE BROWN Multimedia Editor

October is LGBT History Month, which celebrates the history of LGBT people and civil rights movements. National Coming Out Day was Oct. 11. For many LGBT people, coming out is a difficult and stressful experience to prepare for, if they even get to make the choice themselves. Coming out requires vulnerability and risks rejection from friends or family. Often, LGBT people come out to those closest to them first. Heather Mann, who identifies as bisexual, first came out to her friends in high school. Her main worry wasn’t on whether they would reject her, since she had known them for a few years and knew how they felt. “It was less a matter of worrying what they were going to say and more of a matter of saying it out loud to other people would make it official,” Mann said. “That feeling of once I tell other people out loud in words, then it’s a real thing.” Mann’s family lives with her deeply religious grandparents. Her grandfather is a pastor at a small Baptist Church. Her father is Catholic and heavily involved in his church. She still hasn’t come out to them but plans to soon. Growing up in this split household, Mann would spend Sundays listening to her grandfather preach on Sundays and spent Wednesday nights with a youth group at the Catholic Church. In recent years, she said her grandfather’s preaching has become more antagonistic and hostile towards LGBT people. “It used to be the kind of stuff that if my friends ended up spending the night on Saturday, I would feel perfectly fine inviting them along to church Sunday morning,” she said. “I wouldn’t even try to do that now. Almost every sermon he has turns into the sort of fire and brimstone, ‘Homosexuals are going to hell and abortion is killing all of our precious saints.’” Mann said she rarely goes go to church anymore. She tells her parents she watches them online, but listening to her grand-

father preach on things like homosexuality and damnation has affected her relationship with church as a whole. “It’s one thing to have a message that you’re bold and passionate about, but when that passion is furious and inconsolable rage over everything that is my life and makes me happy and purposeful — experiencing that every Sunday at my papa’s sermons kind of spoiled the entire Sunday morning service for me,” she said. “The experience of going to church on Sunday mornings and sitting in the pews and listening to someone I love tell his entire congregation that people like me are the reason why our world is going to hell in a handbasket kind of ruined the experience.” As her grandparents have become more vocally against LGBT people, she said it’s created a lot of distance between them and her. She used to want her grandfather to officiate her wedding, but now she has a girlfriend. If they were to get married, she isn’t even sure she could invite her grandparents. “It’s strange. Every time I go home, I have fun with them,” she said. “Papa loves to joke around a lot. Nana loves to cook and show me how to do things around the house, like sewing or making her cast iron skillet biscuits and gravy. They’re so fun and warm and caring and loving, then they’ll say something offhand, or I’ll overhear them listening to whatever podcast or show or whatever they happen to be watching at the time, and I will just get hit with this wave of ‘I want to share my life with you.’ I want you to be an active part in my life. But I just can’t because of the things that you say and the things that you think and what I’m afraid you will do if I share this part of me with you.’” Mann has shared this part of herself with her brother. It was a few years ago when he was a senior in high school and she was a sophomore in college, and they were driving together, sharing what has been going on in their lives when she blurted out that she was bisexual. She said it was something she had been wanting to tell him because they had gotten closer as they got older. Sometimes, coming out isn’t something


Heather Mann, who identifies as bisexual, first came out to her friends in high school.

you do once. For Lucas Hart, a nonbinary transgender man, coming out can happen multiple times as one discovers more about themselves. Before he realized that he was transgender, he identified to his high school friends as a lesbian. “I honestly don’t know if it was so much like I came out to my friends as much as it was like we all slowly figured it out together,” he said. “It was an unspoken thing.” He said coming out as transgender has been a completely different experience than coming out as gay. “I feel like when you are trans you are always coming out to everybody all the time,” Hart said.

This is especially true with professors, who may unknowingly call him by his legal name instead of his preferred name when taking roll in front of the whole class, which Hart then has to correct. His legal name is not a masculine name, which makes his identity as a transgender man pretty obvious. Sometimes though, it makes him proud that he can be a person for someone who may be questioning their sexuality or gender to see him in their class. “I like to think that them seeing other people be able to come out like that, without any kind of fear, would help them feel better about it or not so afraid,” he said.

Fall 2021

The Auburn Plainsman Midterm Edition 11


Meet Dr. Maldonado The infectious disease specialist at East Alabama Medical Center By ABIGAIL MURPHY Online Editor

for Brooke Bailey, director of infection prevention and employee health for East Alabama Health. Working with him for the past 11 years, Bailey said she views him as a compassionate person by how he approaches the staff to how he cares for patients. “This has been the most stressful time in his whole career, in all of our careers, but yet that did not change how he practices medicine,” she said. Dr. Maldonado said part of his drive is passion. Growing up in Peru, his mother told him he had two options: to join the military or become a doctor. At the age of 12, he decided to volunteer at a Red Cross health clinic. Later, he attended medical school at Universidad Nacional Mayor De San Marcos. “Medicine is my job; no, it’s really not,” Dr. Maldonado said. “My life is medicine. When I sit down with my friends, they ask me about my retirement plans. I’m like no, I don’t have a retirement plan. Why? I’m not planning on it.”




cine rates, cases increased again in August 2021. On Sept. 27, 2021, EAMC reported all the patients in the ICU were unvaccinated. Dr. Maldonado said these cases are more heartbreaking knowing the vaccine is available. “I just do what I need to do – still try everything I can to save their lives and at the same time find the time to send my community a message that hopefully will change one person’s mind,” he said. “If I change one person’s mind, that’s a success – to get the vaccine and prevent them from getting very sick.” Dr. Maldonado writes press releases on the vaccine, as well as responses to emails and Facebook messages from the community regarding COVID-19. Dr. Michael Roberts, chief of staff at EAMC, said Dr. Maldonado has taken on an educator role for the community – going beyond what’s expected of an ID specialist. “It’s hard to explain how crazy his work life has been for the last 18 months because no matter what the question is regarding COVID everyone’s response is, ‘well, have you talked to Ricardo yet?’” Dr. Roberts said. Dr. Roberts said Dr. Maldonado pushed for pandemic plans at the hospital in December 2019 and has led the way ever since. Dr. Roberts said he believes Dr. Maldonado makes it “part of his personal responsibility” to get everyone through this time. Additionally, Dr. Maldonado works as the medical director


The dean points to the back of the lecture hall asking, “Why do you go to med school?” He answered, “I think I was born to be a doctor.” The other students laugh. He said the funny thing was, he wasn’t joking. Today, Dr. Ricardo Maldonado is the infectious disease specialist at East Alabama Medical Center. Before March 2020 he served 20 to 30 patients a day with various diseases. Ever since March 2020, he has served up to 80 patients all with one disease: COVID-19. “There’s an emotional toll on this that people don’t talk about,” he said, beneath a pale blue surgical mask. “… I think that is what keeps me up at night – the personal tragedy and the level of stress.” Dr. Maldonado begins his day at 5 a.m. after an unrestful night of sleep. As a dad, he fixes breakfast and takes his kids to school. Then, he reports to the Intensive Care Unit where he spends hours of his day. Dr. Maldonado said he takes each case personally, aware that patient is someone’s mother, father, sibling or best friend. “I’m an emotional physician, and I like that about myself because I care about them,” he said. “The day I stop caring about patients, or the day the outcome doesn’t affect me anymore, it’s time for me to stop doing what I do.”

From there, he sees nonCOVID-19 infectious disease patients and treats more COVID-19 cases outside of the ICU. While he goes home in time to be with his family for dinner, Dr. Maldonado said it’s hard to leave work at work. Many evenings he reviews medical records before going to bed. “I know professionally this is a legacy for me, so I take this almost personal,” Dr. Maldonado said. “… I want to be sure that the legacy says I did the best I could.” In 2020, Dr. Maldonado said he had two breakdowns in private: first in March and the second in August. At first, it was the unknown of the virus. In August 2020, it was due to the death of a prominent community figure. However, Dr. Maldonado came across Winston Churchill’s speech “We shall fight on the beaches.” He played it every day driving to the hospital and back. In the speech, “bitter weeds” symbolize the perseverance of Englishmen. He said the “bitter weeds” reminded him of his own stubbornness and inner strength. Now it’s different, he said. Recently, a friend asked him if they had any breakthrough yet and he replied we have. It’s the vaccine. During the summer, COVID-19 hospitalizations reached as low as 22, according to East Alabama Health’s COVID-19 chart. Dr. Maldonado said it felt like the pandemic was almost gone. With the delta variant and low vac-


The Auburn Plainsman Midterm Edition

Fall 2021


How to walk through Auburn’s haunted history By ETHAN STAMPER Campus Writer

Spooky season has arrived. One way to usher it in by taking a look at haunted places here in Auburn and Opelika. It might be worth adding a few to your bucket list to check out this Halloween. Some of these places even offer tours of the grounds. Spring Villa Mansion, Opelika The mansion was built and owned in 1850 by Penn Yonge and was later acquired by the city of Opelika in 1927. It now resides as the center of Spring Villa Park. According to the legend, Yonge was murdered in 1878 when he was stabbed on the 13th step of the staircase of his house. The Southern Paranormal Research group has said that ever since the incident, visitors have reported experiencing feelings of being sick and pushed when standing on the staircase. According to an article by Katherine Haas, investiga-

tors found years later that a few children had drowned in a nearby lake on the property, as well. This is suspected to be the cause of people hearing the voice of a young girl while on the property. Telfair Peet Theatre It is believed that the ghost haunting the theatre is Sydney Grimlett, a Confederate soldier who once haunted what is now the University Chapel. Grimlett moved in the 1970s with the theatre. The University Chapel was originally used as a hospital during the Civil War, believed to be where Sydney died after receiving a wound during battle. According to an AU News article from 1998, students have claimed to hear rattling sounds in the walls and behind doors. Shadows are said to move across the room, too. Samford Hall Old Main used to stand in Samford Hall’s place before it was burned down in 1887. Just like the University Chapel, it was briefly used as a hospital to house soldiers during

the Civil War. According to the previously mentioned AU News article, it is said that the ghosts of certain soldiers still occupy the area. Most notably, there is the ghost of a guard who watches over Auburn from his post in the bell tower. Pine Hill Cemetery Pine Hill was established in 1837 and is the oldest cemetery in Auburn. The historic cemetery has many stories about the individuals buried there, including a 7-year old killed by a bee sting and a man buried in his bed. The cemetery is also the resting place of many confederate soldiers and slaves who fought during the Civil War. According to Foursquare, a city guide forum, there have been reports of inexplicable hovering lights over graves, as well as a general feeling of uneasiness that lingers after dark. Pine Hill Cemetery offers walking tours throughout the year that allow visitors to see over 30 historic graves. The tour caters to anyone who enjoys exploring history or hearing some ghosts stories along the way. DANIEL SCHMIDT | PHOTOGRAPHER


Fall 2021

The Auburn Plainsman Midterm Edition 13



Since O-Grows is a community garden, there are also individual plots for people to grow their own fruits and vegetables for the fall.

Local farmers markets provide produce from The Plains By EMMA HALL Campus Writer

With the weather cooling down in Auburn, it is time to get outside and pick up some produce for some fall recipes. Hornsby Farms, Parkway Farmers’ Market and Opelika Grows are three fall markets that Lee County locals should try. At O-Grows, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbages are staples this fall season. Since O-Grows is a community garden, there are also individual plots for people to grow their own fruits and vegetables for the fall. At Hornsby Farms, one can look forward to the pepper jellies for some spice this fall. Their most popular pepper jellies right now are the peach habañero and the sweet heat strawberry jalapeño. Hornsby Farms even offers delivery options to bring their jams, jellies and produce baskets to anyone in the Auburn-Opelika area. At Parkway Farms, the fall season can truly be celebrated with essentials such as acorn, spaghetti and butternut squash, muscadine and scuppernong grapes and

pumpkins. These fall products are great additions to any cookout, tailgate or other fall get-together. The Hornsby jellies can be used in a variety of dishes such as a glaze for grilled pork or chicken, a fun cocktail mixer or a dip for crackers served with cream cheese. Parkway Farms squash can be used in a tasty butternut squash soup that is sure to get one in the fall spirit. At O-Grows, one can use the vegetables as side items to a delicious meal, or plant one’s own garden to organically gather ingredients for their own recipes. Taking the time to escape to a farmers’ market allows one to slow down and appreciate the outdoors in a peaceful setting. “Fall is such a fun season for the farm,” said Beth Hornsby of Hornsby Farms. “Summer vegetables are slowing, temperatures are dropping and the new season brings a certain beauty to the farm that reminds me of simpler times.” Sean Forbes, a founder of O-Grows, said that the community garden is a “soothing, positive environment with people who are happy to be there.”

“The thing I love about Parkway Farmers Market is the interactions with the customers, talking about recipes and how to cook this and how they cook that,” said Patrick Jacobs, assistant manager at Parkway. Farmers’ markets are not only a fun fall activity but also benefit the community. At Hornsby Farms, the family-owned business focuses on the community by allowing the public to “put a face with agriculture” and connect with other local farmers. “It allows us to connect with our community and talk about why we love farming and why it is so important,” said Hornsby. Parkway Farmers’ Market benefits the community by making sure they are providing the freshest produce and supplying restaurants and bars with locally grown foods. Because it is a community garden associated with Auburn University, O-Grows is able to help the community by addressing the food insecurity in Auburn. “There is a real food security need in this area, and [he] genuinely appreciates getting to leverage university resources to impact the community,” Forbes said.


The Auburn Plainsman Midterm Edition


open on October 18 at 8:00 a.m.


open on October 18 at 8:00 a.m. for full candidate information, position descriptions and eligibility


Fall 2021

Fall 2021

The Auburn Plainsman Midterm Edition



Auburn hosts annual city market By CAROLINE CRAIG Community Reporter

The City of Auburn’s city market will host its annual Harvest Days event. This will take place in Town Creek Park on Saturday, Oct. 24. Residents can attend the market free of charge from 8 a.m. to noon. The market will feature 25 vendors who are local farmers and artists selling produce, baked goods and art to the community. The Auburn Beautification Council will also be selling fall plants. Sarah Cook, community programs manager with the City of Auburn, said there will be brittle, fall vegetables, pickled okra, pepper jelly, cakes, bread, cobblers, yogurt, granola, dog treats, meat and seafood. Cook said local artists will be selling pottery, candles and purses. The City Market has been in operation for two years starting with the Harvest Market in October 2019. The Harvest Markest started as a trial run for the summer City Market that started in June 2020. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City was still able to hold its City Market in 2020. “We had a drive-thru farmers market on April 25, our summer market every Saturday from June to August and our Harvest Market,” Cook said. With two years under its belt, Cook said the market is hoping for a big turnout. She said they expect over 500 people to attend the event.

Julie Duncan, a resident of Auburn, has always wanted to attend the event but has not always had the time to make the trip. “I’ve heard that lots of people sell out because of the amount of people that go and that it’s just a great place to go and meet new people,” Duncan said. This year the market is adding a Mini Merchant segment which will include kids under the age of 14 selling products they made. A cornhole board and a giant Connect 4 will be available for entertainment. All vendors bring their own tents and tables and will set up on the green space in Town Creek Park off of Gay Street. Market attendees can park in Town Creek Park or in the gravel lot across the street from the park. “Vendors are assigned a spot prior to the market, set up begins at 6:30 a.m., and vendors are expected to be set up by 7:30 a.m.,” Cook said. Vendors will be following state sanitation guidelines regarding farmers markets which prohibits cooking demonstrations and food samples from being served. Attendees will be encouraged to maintain proper social distancing, and masks are encouraged as well. Vendors join the market by application which begins the November before the new year. Potential vendors can start the application process for next year’s market on Tuesday, Nov. 16. All updates regarding the market can be found on the market and the City’s social media pages. “This is a rain or shine event,” Cook said. “If there is severe weather in the area then we would cancel the market.”



The Auburn Plainsman Midterm Edition

Fall 2021


Auburn’s top 10 happy hour spots By SABINA CRISITELLO Lifestyle Writer

Work hard, play hard: Auburn students agree they know how to do both. From widely renowned Auburn institutions to downtown newcomers, Auburn offers a variety of places to kick off a night out. As classes wind down and the weekend gets underway, here’s what Auburn students have to say about their favorite happy hour spots.


Tacorita: Tequila fans, meet Tacorita. Located in the heart of downtown Auburn, this contemporary Mexican spot features more than tacos. Tacorita boasts homemade margaritas in an array of flavors, a few being strawberry, blackberry and mango. Bartenders at the restaurant make their margaritas by squeezing fresh fruit in house and rotating through seasonal flavors. Tacorita offers happy hour specials Monday-Thursday, advertising $15 margarita pitchers.

LiveOaks: Serving the Auburn community since 2015, this downtown patio bar and restaurant offers outdoor seating and a menu full of hand-crafted cocktails. The restaurant and bar are owned by Auburn alumnus Steve Nippert. According to an interview with the Auburn Villager, Nippert named the establishment after the Toomer’s Corner Oaks that were replanted the same week LiveOaks opened its doors. Asiah Bryant, LiveOaks hostess, said: “LiveOaks is known for their great drink and appetizer specials. It’s the perfect place to bring your family and friends.”



Moe’s Original BBQ: Founded by three Alabama natives, Moe’s Original BBQ serves barbecue, beer and a host of cocktails to Auburn residents every weekend. In the spring, summer and fall, the restaurant often hosts local live music on it’s outdoor patio. Michael Santoni, junior and mechanical engineering, said he enjoys going to Moe’s for it’s atmosphere. “It’s a great place to grab a drink and a bite to eat with friends downtown,” Santoni said. Moe’s posts daily food and drink specials on their Instagram.


Avondale Bar and Tap Room: House-made cocktails and views of downtown are just a staircase away. Located above Toomer’s Corner, Avondale Bar and Tap Room creates custom cocktails for each season and holiday. Think orange creamsicle, cranberry mimosas and pumpkin spice libations. With its floor-to-ceiling mirrors, plush leather chairs and detailed woodwork, owner Hardy Gilbert characterized the bar as “a responsible bar for responsible people,” in an interview with Edible Lower Alabama. Nonetheless, Avondale welcomes locals and students alike. After all, their website states it best: “All who come thirsty are welcome.”


Fall 2021

The Auburn Plainsman Midterm Edition


COMMUNITY The Collegiate Hotel: Another Auburn establishment that offers seasonal craft cocktails can be found at The Collegiate Hotel. This hotel boasts two separate bars, one indoor and one outdoor, to accommodate guests during any season. The Collegiate’s outdoor bar, a rooftop concept overlooking Samford hall, promises “eagle-eye views,” according it’s website.


Halftime Sports Bar & Grill: Halftime advertises the full game-day experience: snacks, specials and screens. Located in downtown Auburn, the sports bar offers a full menu stuffed with items like fried gouda mac & cheese bites, specialty burgers and triple-decker sandwiches. To wash it all down, Halftime promotes daily drink specials on it’s Instagram. The sports bar is open every day from 3 p.m.-2 a.m., with weekend hours starting a little earlier at 11 a.m.

The Plaza Bar and Lounge: Opening its doors at 11 a.m. Tuesday-Sunday, the Plaza Bar advertises beer, wine and cocktails complete with outdoor seating and a full menu. They boast happy hour specials Tuesday-Thursday, as well as weekly trivia nights, bingo and live music. “The Plaza is the best place to watch an away game,” said Sophia Franz, junior in microbiology. “Everyone there is really passionate about watching the game. The food is amazing, and I know I’ll always have a seat.”


17-16: A downtown bar located on Magnolia Avenue, 17-16 has been serving the Auburn community since 2017. The bar is named after Auburn football’s 17-16 win over Ala bama in 1972 , according to Auburn Opelika Tourism. The bar features an inside complete with barstool seating, multiple TV screens and a pool table, as well as an outdoor back patio where the bar regularly hosts live music. The bar is decked out in blue and orange, paying homage to its namesake. 17-16 has daily drink specials advertised on it’s Instagram and offers a happy-hour food menu from neighboring restaurant Hamilton’s on Magnolia.

Southeastern Bar: Opened in 2019, Southeastern Bar is one of the newest additions to Auburn’s nightlife. Its name was derived from its website’s mission statement, that the dedication to “friends, family, good times, and of course football” are all part of what makes the Southeast so unique. The bar advertises itself as “one of the lengthiest bars in the SEC,” according to its website, and features an upper and lower level. Southeastern features various happy hour drink specials, along with a full menu and daily food specials.


Skybar Cafe: Widely considered to be the largest college bar in the SEC, according to their Instagram, Skybar Cafe has been a member of Auburn’s bar scene since 2005. Owned by brothers Pat and Dan Grider, the bar has a 2,500 person capacity and features multiple full-service bars, two stages and a rooftop. Although their hours vary, Skybar offers a few constants: Karaoke Tuesdays and Wednesdays, Throwback Thursdays, and live music Friday and Saturday nights. Skybar advertise daily happy hour specials on it’s Instagram.





The Auburn Plainsman Midterm Edition

Fall 2021




Chewacla State Park offers mountain biking trails for outdoor activities.

The trails have different levels for bikers of all experience.

Mountain bikers take to Chewacla’s trails By HARLEE MEYDRECH Lifestyle Writer

Chewacla State Park is home to a number of mountain biking trails. Chewacla has multiple different outdoor activities for visitors, including Chewacla Lake for fishing, as well as trails for hiking mountain biking. According to its website, “Chewacla State Park has a great partnership with Central Alabama Mountain Peddlers that offers a great trail system to the public.” Chewacla State Park has nine biking trails officially outlined on their website based on their level of rigor. The park has beginner, intermediate and all the way up to advanced trails for expert riders. On the beginner side, there are two different trails: the Camp Trail and the Lakeside Connector Trail. The Camp Trail is a mile-long “relatively flat loop,” while the Lakeside Connector Trail contains “longer, intermediate single track trails” and is about half-a-mile long

with scenic views along the way, according to Chewacla State Park’s website. For intermediate mountain bikers, there is Ranger Dell’s Trail. It is a smooth 0.6-mile ride. According to the website, “If you can master this trail, you’re ready for the longer and slightly more technical trails in the park.” For more advanced trails in the park, Chewacla has multiple options for experienced riders. There is the CCC Trail, which spans about three miles. According to Chewacla’s website, it is full of quick turns, steep dips and short climbs. Another more difficult trail in Chewacla is the Falls View Trail. This trail has many quick turns, narrow sections and technical obstacles, like roots and rocks. Chewacla’s website says, “There are lots of obstacles on the bluffs above the creek.” Wesley Conner, bike shop manager of Auburn Outdoors and senior in mechanical engineering at Auburn, said he has spent a lot of time on Chewacla’s biking trails. “My personal favorite biking trail at

Chewacla is probably Rock Bottom because it is a pretty intermediate trail,” Conner said. “It is one all my friends can go on. It’s pretty basic, so if they’ve never mountain biked they can still do it.” Chewacla State Park manager Joshua Funderburk said that the biking trails are a very popular attraction. Funderburk said that on Saturday, Sept. 25, there were over 800 visitors. “The majority of the visitors on Saturday came to the park for biking,” Funderburk said. While Chewacla is open to the public year-round, Conner said certain seasons see higher traffic than others. “Weekends in the spring and fall when it’s not too hot is when Chewacla is super busy,” Conner said. “[Mountain biking] seems to be a yearround thing,” Conner said. “Even when it was freezing outside a couple of years ago, I still had people coming in to ride.” Chewacla is one of the only local places to mountain bike in Auburn. “Around Auburn, there’s not a ton of good

mountain biking,” Conner said. “Many trails are a pretty good drive away. So for the Auburn area, Chewacla is great.” Additionally, Conner said that on top of the biking trails at Chewacla there are also many other options for outdoor activities, including the hiking trails, hanging out at the waterfall, swimming at the lake in the summer and hanging up hammocks with friends. Auburn’s mountain biking team, the Auburn Flyers, practices on the trails at Chewacla. Chewacla has many practice trails and competition trails created for racing. “Chewacla has a pump track and training courses to get you prepared for hitting the actual trails,” Funderburk said. “There are areas for gaining skills, and then there are slalom courses meant for actual racing.” For those who want to get started mountain biking, Conner said it’s easy to get plugged in, from Auburn Outdoors at the Recreation and Wellness Center to the Central Alabama Mountain Peddlers. “Chewacla is a great place to start out,” Funderburk said.

Fall 2021

The Auburn Plainsman Midterm Edition



Local Coffee. Live Music. Fall Vibes.

November 9th

6 p.m. - 9 p.m. Samford Lawn


The Auburn Plainsman Midterm Edition

Fall 2021



Former women’s golf coach, Kim Evans, weighs in on her experiences both in the sports field and as a member of the Auburn University community.

Kim Evans hasn’t left The Plains behind By KARA MAUTZ Lifestyle Writer

Coach Kim Evans, former head coach of the women’s golf team may have retired in 2015, but she hasn’t left The Plains behind. Evans started her career at Auburn as a student-athlete in 1977 and later came back to coach in 1994. During her time at Auburn, she led the golf team to eight SEC championships, was named SEC coach of the year five times and won the National Golf Coaches Association National Coach of the Year in 2002, according to the Auburn Athletics website. “It was an honor to come back and coach,” Evans said. “We developed a top-10 program that still thrives today under our current coach Melissa Luellen Shortly after graduating from Auburn,

Evans worked as a golf professional in Sandestin, Florida, where she attained her PGA status and gained experience learning the golf business and teaching the game. Evans later went to Georgia Tech to work as the assistant men’s golf coach, before settling at Auburn University as the head coach of the women’s golf team. “I loved coming home to Auburn and building my own program,” Evans said. However, her time coaching at Auburn was not without its challenges. Evans was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2013 and ultimately decided to step back from coaching in 2015 to better focus on her fight against cancer and serve the cancer community. “This was a tough time to go through,” she said. “I had multiple surgeries and chemotherapy and our teams had a lot to man-

age on their own.” Evans said this was the right decision for her, and it allowed her the time she needed to heal. She is currently going on over eight years cancer-free, with no evidence of disease. Recently, Evans also had to go through hip surgery, which has been a challenge not only physically but mentally. “I am just three weeks out and trying to take it slow and easy,” she said. “I know it is going to be a long process, and I just want to come back as strong as I can and better.” She said her biggest goal right now is to take the advice of her doctors and physical therapists to trust the process so she is able to bounce back as healthy as possible. During her time as head coach, Evans accomplished many milestones, championships and awards.

However, Evans said it is not the accomplishments that she holds most dear. “I loved being a part of not only the Auburn golf family but also the Auburn Family,” Evans said. “I love all of the relationships with the student-athletes and their families.” Winning was still nice though, she said. “It was also special to win eight SEC championships,” Evans said. Since retiring from coaching, Evans has been busy working as a consultant for PGA of America, where she reaches out to collegiate golfers about careers in golf. She also still works with Auburn University, assisting student veterans on campus. “I help our student veterans connect with community leaders through golf and also teach them the game with clinics and golf outings throughout the year,” Evans said.

Fall 2021

The Auburn Plainsman Midterm Edition



How the Carlson brothers kicked into Auburn history By CALLIE STANFORD Sports Writer

Over the last eight years, it’s been a regular sight to see a tall, blonde kicker with the last name “Carlson” printed across the back of his jersey trot onto the field to kick for the Tigers. A frequent visitor to Auburn games, however, knows that this is nothing unusual. That’s because brothers Daniel and Anders Carlson have been facets within the Auburn football program for the past eight years. Younger brother Anders returned for his fourth season of eligibility this year. Older brother Daniel joined the team as a redshirt freshman in 2013, making this season the ninth season with at least one Carlson listed on the roster. Anders kicked four field goals in Auburn’s 34-24


victory over Georgia State. With his third made field goal, Anders passed Wes Byrum for second-most made field goals all-time in Auburn history. The only person ahead of him? His older brother. Daniel’s career into kicking began the way that many kickers begin their career. He was a high school soccer player pulled into football by a team needing a kicker. A family friend from church coordinated special teams for the

high school and reached out in hopes that one of the Carlson boys would be open to trying the position out. “He came up to my dad was like, ‘Hey, do any of your sons want to play football?’” Daniel said. “That afternoon we went out and tried kicking a football for the first time, and I enjoyed it.” He agreed to join the team, but at the time, he still wanted to focus on soccer. “That’s how it started,” Daniel said. “And then it morphed into me eventually kind of leaving soccer behind and pursuing football more.” As a high school recruit, Daniel’s commitment to Auburn was a bit unexpected. The Carlson family is deeply entrenched in the University of Alabama. Both parents, Jodie and Hans, attended the Auburn rival. A sign of the family’s conflicting loyalties came on an official visit, post-commitment, when Jodie’s ringtone went off, with some unintended results. “Her ringtone on her cell phone was the Alabama fight song,” Daniel said. “We’re in the coaches’ hallway, and all of a sudden, it starts going off, and it’s in the very bottom of her purse and she’s just frantically digging around to shut it off. Some of the coaches are peeking out of their offices like, ‘What is going on?’” Daniel is now with the Raiders, spending the offseason in Auburn with his wife, Katherine, and daughter, Lily, before returning for the 2021 NFL season. “My coaches have joked about in a couple years when Anders has come to the NFL, cutting me because it would be cheaper at that point,” Daniel said. “Hopefully, I get to play again so that he doesn’t have to replace me again. Hopefully I’ll still be sticking around for a few GRAPHIC: ABBY CUNNINGHAM | SOCIAL MEDIA EDITOR

more years after he’s in the NFL as well.” If you ask them to compare their skills, they’ll tell different tales. they’ll tell different tales. Anders likes to say he’s the superior athlete because he’s caught a pass in a game, but Daniel says his touchdown gives him the edge. “I’ll make sure I say that I am the superior athlete because I do have a touchdown and he does not. He’s had a couple fakes or whatever through his college career so far, but no touchdowns yet,” Daniel said. “I think we raced like a week ago and I beat him.” “Carlson” continues to be a household name for Auburn fans, thanks not only to their athletic ability but their humility in the spotlight. The brothers were well-

known to fans for their consistent scoring contributions and could be seen at athletic events, greeting long lines of fans. While it’s likely Anders will leave Auburn for the NFL after the upcoming season, all athletes have an extra year of eligibility following shortened seasons due to COVID-19, potentially putting a Carlson on the field for Auburn for a decade. “It’s been a long time, all the time that we’ve been kicking,” Daniel said. “I’m sure for a while fans are like, ‘How is this Daniel Carlson kid still out there?’”



The Auburn Plainsman Midterm Edition

Fall 2021


Season HIGHS


Bo Nix (10) throws between Auburn and Louisiana State University at Tiger Stadium on Oct 2, 2021, in Baton Rouge, La.

By HENRY PATTON Sports Writer

in SEC play, but for Auburn, this win signified that its heading in the right direction. It showed that Auburn can compete with and beat SEC teams under head coach Brent Crouch. Auburn already has more wins this season than it had from 2019-Spring 2021, so the program is trending in the right direction. Tatum Shipes and Bella Rosen-

thall have both won SEC Defensive Player of the Week, while Rebekah Rath won SEC Offensive Player of the Week earlier this season. The awards marked the first SEC honors for an Auburn player in four years. The program is trending upward, the wins by Auburn and accolades won by its players prove that.

VOLLEYBALL The 2020 season was a struggle for Auburn volleyball. The Tigers weren’t able to win a game during the 2020 fall season and did not field a team in the spring of 2021. This year, Auburn has a winning record past the midway point of the season and has won a pair of SEC games. Multiple Auburn players have earned SEC Player of the Week honors as well, a highlight for the team. Auburn volleyball had not had an SEC Player of the Week since 2017. Winning a bunch of out-of-conference games is great, but beating its biggest rival to win its first SEC game in two years is the highlight of the season for Auburn Volleyball. Auburn swept a doubleheader against Alabama in early October to secure its first SEC wins LARRY ROBINSON | SPORTS WRITER since late 2019. Alabama has not found success in conference play Auburn defenders block a spike in a match versus Alabama on Oct. 3, 2021, in this season, currently winless Auburn, Ala.

By HENRY ZIMMER Sports Reporter

FOOTBALL Auburn has had it fair share of high points in the team’s young season. Freshman running back Jarquez Hunter setting the school-record for longest run from scrimmage, kicker Anders Carlson cementing himself in Auburn’s record books and TJ Finley’s comeback against Georgia State immediately come to mind. But Auburn’s highest-high of the year has to be the team’s win against LSU. Then-ranked No. 22 in the nation, Auburn traveled down to LSU having not beaten the Bayou Bengals on their home turf since 1999. Quarterback Bo Nix was not born the last time Auburn won in Death Valley, where the team notably smoked cigars in Baton Rouge after the victory. But that all changed on a busted fourth down play. Nix took a shotgun snap and rolled right, trying to find tight


SOCCER Auburn soccer has been on fire in the 2021 season. Not perfect, but on fire. The team was riding a winning streak from the previous season that sat at six, as the highest-ranked team to visit Auburn in over two years was on the way with some confidence and a hot foot. Auburn soccer got its first Top-15 win in over three years as the team downed No. 12 BYU by a score of 2-1 in the team’s first home game of the season. Plus, it all happened in front of the biggest crowd the Auburn Soccer Complex has seen since 2019.

end Tyler Fromm to convert a fourth-and-short. Auburn needed points in the worst type of way. The play was blown up almost immediately. Fromm was bumped off of his designed route by a defender, the defense came free and no one was open. So Nix did the only thing he could: run. Nix reversed field and juked LSU defenders for almost 11 whole seconds before a swarm of purple and yellow surrounded the junior play caller. Defenders leapt off their feet, inbound for Nix on the sideline. What followed shocked every fan in Tiger Stadium. Surrounded on every side, Nix jumped up and tossed a ball towards the endzone. Who else but Fromm, having circumvented the entire field, beat his man behind the defense and his golden locks were all defenders could see as he trotted into the endzone. Nix’s scramble touchdown to a sophomore who had never recorded a catch before, will not only be a highlight of the 2021 season, but for decades to come. Anna Haddock showed out in the Tigers’ biggest game to date, knocking in two goals to start her team-leading score count early on in the season. As the score sat level at 1-1 nearing the end of the match, senior defender Alyssa Malonson made a run for goal on the sideline and needled in an overarching ball to Haddock who headed the ball into the back of the net with ease. Following the ranked win, Auburn rocketed up the coaches’ and national poll where it still sits midseason at No. 16. Dropping a few winnable Southeastern Conference matches hinders this season from being perfect, but Auburn soccer still has a lot to smile about midway through the year.

Fall 2021

The Auburn Plainsman Midterm Edition



FOOTBALL Auburn entered its first year under new head coach Bryan Harsin not knowing what to expect. While the team has had its highs this year, there have also been lows. Sophomore wide receiver Kobe Hudson fumbling a handoff to start the second half versus Penn State in close game could be one. Leading the SEC in dropped passes or the amount of busted plays allowed on defense are two more. One that stands out is the near-disaster game to Georgia State, specifically the first half of play. Coming off a close loss to Penn State, the No. 23 ranked Tigers returned for their homecoming game. The game was self-destructive from the start. Nothing went right for Auburn until the final drive, when backup quarterback T.J. Finley drove down the field 98-yards to win the game. Bo Nix was benched after the first half. The entire first half, Nix struggled to find any sort of

rhythm. He completed 13-of27 passes and missed a couple of would-be touchdowns. Finishing the first half with 156 yards passing and unable to get Auburn into the end zone, Nix was benched for Finley in the second half. The running game did not fare much better, as both running backs Jarquez Hunter and Tank Bigsby were held to just 166 yards and 4.7 yards per carry. Bigby’s streak of three straight 100yard games came to an end. Shaun Shivers was held to two carries for 29 yards. Defensively, Auburn was not any better then the offense. In the first half alone, Georgia State accumulated 300 yards of total offense. Busted coverages and assignments led to touchdowns, putting Georgia State up early. It did not help that Auburn was without both of its generals on defense in Zacoby McClain and Owen Pappoe. The second half ended up being a bit better, especially on defense. Auburn escaped the Panthers in a heart-racing finish that fans might be used to at this point.

By JAKE GONZALEZ Sports Writer

SOCCER Auburn soccer has had a fast start to the season, but it is starting to trend down. Auburn has lost two games in the last five matches. The Tigers are in the midst of their worst stretch of form this season, and they have still managed to fight and claw in every

game to make it close. The defense has been struggling with giving up goals in costly situations and when the Tigers cannot afford them. They turned in their worst performance of the year when they gave up three goals in 47 minutes in the 3-2 loss to South Carolina on Oct. 1. Auburn’s offense has been giving them a chance in every game. In the loss to South Carolina, they

scored two goals in the last 30 minutes of the game to close the lead to one but could not get over the line. Over the last five games, the Tigers have scored 1.6 goals per game. Despite the two losses in the last five games, Auburn has managed to get shutout wins against Mississippi State and LSU. Auburn just might be coming into form again.


Sydney Richards dribbles past defenders against UAB in Auburn, Alabama, on Sept. 9, 2021, at the Auburn Soccer Complex.

By DYLAN FOX Sports Writer


VOLLEYBALL What the Tigers have in topsix talent, they lack in depth. With only twelve players on the roster, Crouch’s squad can’t really roll the depth like larger squads in the SEC. With Tatum Shipes or Bella Rosenthall off the court, the Tigers have lacked the defense required to compete at a higher level in the conference. While the Tigers are second-most in the SEC in digs, they are second to last in both assists and kills allowed during conference play. Most of that happens when Shipes is off the court, which

causes Auburn’s blocking scheme to become less of a threat. Auburn is, surprisingly, third to last in hitting percentage and last in digs allowed. It can be easy to blame the hitters’ performances, but it’s likely due to a lack of diversity in the attack. Most of the attacks are centered around Rebekah Rath and Jackie Barrett, which can make Auburn’s of-

fense one-dimensional at times. The Tigers will have to get more players involved in offense if Auburn wants to make noise in the SEC this season. Auburn also has an issue at the service line, as the team is at the bottom of the SEC in service aces. Service errors have also been a problem for the team, most notably with Rebekah Rath, who has 38 of them on the year at the time of publication.



The Auburn Plainsman Midterm Edition

Fall 2021


Rating Auburn football’s remaining opponents By MATTISON ALLEN Assistant Sports Editor

ARKANSAS ( A- ) Arkansas has climbed back into releavancy under head coach Sam Pittman. Many doubted Pittman due to his lack of experience as a head coach, but he’s proved the naysayers wrong so far. The Razorbacks are 4-2 overall with notable wins over formerly No. 15 Texas and formerly No. 7 Texas A&M. Not only did they beat the two, but they also outscored them by double in each game. The Razorbacks dominated on offense during both games, totaling 530 rushing yards and 384 passing yards over both games. The less-than-perfect grade comes at the expense of Georgia and Ole Miss, which have been Arkansas’ last two losses. It wasn’t expected for the Razorbacks to beat now-No. 1, Georgia, but many did not think they were going to get shut out. Arkansas showed its cards against the Rebels and revealed its lack of defense as the score kept running up. The Razorbacks lost on the final play of the game. failing a game-winning two-point conversion attempt. Auburn has its hands full on the road at Arkansas. The Tigers can see holes in the defense, as pointed out by Ole Miss, but can also see the integrity of the team. The Razorbacks are on a two-loss streak and will be looking to end that against Auburn.

OLE MISS ( A+ ) Ole Miss is a top team in the SEC this year and that’s why it gets the A+. The Rebels haven’t made it into the Top 25 since 2016 and now they sit at No. 13 mid-

season, with one loss, to the former No. 1 team. On top of that, Ole Miss holds a win over Arkansas, as mentioned above, where the offense showed out and the defense barely showed up. All other wins were to lackluster teams, but what stood out were the scores. Ole Miss hasn’t put up less than 42 points other than its loss to Alabama. Even so, the Rebels stood their ground against such a highly-favored team. The offense struggled for the first time this season, but quarterback Matt Corral was still able to go 22-for-30 for over 213 yards. Even so, the defense held the Tide to one of its lowest yards allowed since 2014. Auburn will be coming off of a byeweek when Ole Miss rolls into the Plains.

TEXAS A&M ( C+ ) When fans think of A&M, they’re thinking of the huge, unexpected win over Alabama. There’s nothing wrong with that, in fact, it definitely gives the Aggies some credit, but not enough. That’s why Texas A&M is rated as a C+. The Aggies have struggled this season with losses to Mississippi State and Arkansas. Not to mention a near loss to Colorado, where they won 10-7. Yes, an unranked Texas A&M taking down Alabama is a huge win in its book. The Alabama game proved that the Aggies want it. They have the drive. They just might not have the means. Texas A&M is a running team. Versus Mississippi State, the Aggies rushed 221 compared to the Bulldogs’ 46. However, they got beat in the passing game where Miss State toppled at 408 yards compared to A&M’s 136. Auburn will be in College Station for this one and I think that’s a large part of Alabama’s loss. However, if the Tigers can take down LSU in Death Valley, the environment shouldn’t be an issue. It’s all going to be about stopping the run game to pull out this SEC win.

By CALEB JONES Sports Editor

MISSISSIPPI STATE ( C ) It’s been a toss-up type of season for Mississippi State. With wins and losses coming in pairs against all types of teams, there’s no telling what the Bulldogs will look like when they face Auburn. Disaster nearly struck in the first game of the season, with Mississippi State narrowly avoiding an upset to Louisiana Tech with a fourth-quarter comeback. The following game, Mississippi State defeated North Carolina State, whose loss to the Bulldogs is the only loss this season for the Wolfpack. The Bulldogs then lost back-to-back games to Memphis and LSU, a pair of middle-of-the-pack teams in their respective conferences, before going on the road and beating then-ranked No. 15 Texas A&M. Might it be added that the No. 1 team in the country just lost in College Station to the Aggies. So there’s no telling what can happen with Mississippi State. Quarterback Will Rogers is capable of causing trouble for the Auburn secondary, which has been largely unsuccessful in forcing incompletions in its two losses. Rogers has a 75% competition rating this season, which is currently highest in the SEC.

SOUTH CAROLINA ( D- ) There’s not much going well for South Carolina this season, who just suffered a 25-point loss to Tennessee. At the time

of this writing, the Gamecocks are winless in SEC play. They still sit at 3-3 on the season, but the three victories have not been impressive by any means. Two of the three wins are single-digit wins over Group of 5 opponents, one of which was a walk-off field goal against East Carolina. South Carolina’s offense is low-production, ranked 115th in the FBS in scoring offense. Quarterback Luke Doty has the lowest QBR in the SEC and the Gamecocks don’t have a Top 20 rusher in the conference in yards rushing this season. Nonetheless, South Carolina still has some talented defenders. Defensive back Jaylan Foster leads the SEC this season with four interceptions and is third in the conference in toal tackles with 52.

ALABAMA ( A- ) The Crimson Tide are ranked No. 5 in the nation following their loss to Texas A&M. While the loss broke a 19game win streak for Alabama, the Crimson Tide are still a top-tier program in the SEC and the team to beat in the West division. Alabama’s Bryce Young is considered the Heisman Trophy favorite this far into the season, throwing for 1,734 yards, 20 touchdowns and three interceptions. Both the Alabama offense and defense is ranked Top 20 in the nation, one of just two teams to boast that resume. Even with the loss on the road to Texas A&M, the Tide still control their own destiny in the SEC West. If the Tide were to win out, the chances of making the College Football Playoff favor Alabama.

Fall 2021

The Auburn Plainsman Midterm Edition


Students compete for business startup capital By EMERY LAY

market opportunity. Finally, participants need to attach a video describing the business idea, model and problem that will be solved, up to This fall, Auburn University is once again three minutes in length. providing Auburn students with a space to The competitor application cutoff is Friday, pitch their best business ideas at the Halloween Nov. 19, whereupon an independent panPitch Competition and the Tiger Cage Busiel of judges will select the top 20 teams from ness Idea Competition. the submissions to advance to the quarter-fiEach competition is meant to provide Aunal round. burn and Auburn University-Montgomery The selected participants will deliver a busistudents with an opportunity to win a cash ness pitch to the panel of judges – each with prize and professional support for their busiexperience in both business formation and ness venture pitch. funding – on Friday, Jan. 28. A wide variety of workshops will be availThe presentation atmosphere will be deable to competitors during the events to presigned to resemble a typical pitch to an angel pare them for each round. These workshops investor or venture capital firm. will be conducted by mentors from the Auburn Teams will prepare a PowerPoint to be utifamily of business professionals, other Auburn will be selected from a panel of judges to self and some of the entrepreneurs and lized during their pitch and will have up to 10 faculty and staff, entrepreneurs-in-residence advance to the pitch round on Oct. 29. residents have known throughout our ca- minutes to speak – five minutes of time for and several guest speakers. Advancing teams and individuals will rereers and [they] will also be judges in the presentation and five minutes for questions Student workspace will be available in ceive an invitation with their assigned competition. So, it’s a mix. It’s a pretty di- from the judges. the Horton-Hardgrave Hall Innovation Lab pitch time prior to Oct. 29. verse group of men and women, and a lot After the quarter-final round is complete, (Room 012) and the New Venture AccelerEach time slot will provide three minof different backgrounds.” judges will select eight competitors for the fiator, located in the Research and Innovation utes to the team or individual to present As for Tiger Cage, which began in nal round. Center (Suite 101, 540 Devall Drive). their business idea to the panel. After re2016, submissions must be made by Nov. After another round of presentations on “Part of what we do over here (at the New viewing all 20, the judges will select the fi19 before midnight online. Submissions Friday, Feb. 25, the competitors will be cut in Venture Accelerator) is to run the Halloween nal four. must include a 250-word summary of a half so that only four remaining groups or inPitch competition and the Tiger Cage compeThe first-place prize is an award of business idea, which will be used to intro- dividuals progress onto the final round. tition,” said Lucian Bifano, a professor at Au- $2,000 in startup capital; the second-place duce the judges to the business concept. The finals will be on March 25 and will be burn, a member of the entrepreneurship team prize will be $1,000; the third and fourthAdditionally, participants must fill out a held as a public event wherein the top four parin the College of Business and manager of the place teams or individuals will be awardone-page Business Model Canvas that de- ticipants will compete for a share of the startNew Venture Accelerator. “We also do a lot of ed $500 each. scribes the business model, which can be up prize pool. coaching and mentoring to help students and “The judges are all people who have found at www.businessmodelgeneration. The startup capital, sponsored by the Harfaculty members with their startups we have been successful entrepreneurs or incom/canvas. bert College of Business, rests at $50,000. myself and three part time entrepreneurs and vestors, and a large number of Each participant must also submit First place will receive $25,000 and the reresidents that help with the coaching and men- them are Auburn grads,” Bifathree to five PowerPoint slides de- maining three competitors will split the retoring duties.” no said. “But we have other scribing the problem their business maining half. Bifano, an Auburn grad, has annually taught friends of Auburn that myaddresses, the solution and the An additional $4,000 innovation award a class on how to write and pitch busiavailable for the taking, sponsored by the ness plans since beginning his time Thomas Walter Center for Technolat Auburn in 2017. He will serve as ogy Management. a mentor, amongst others, for “Practice, practice, practice,” the competitions. Bifano said. “Take advantage The third year of the Hallowof the coaching and mentoring een Pitch Competition will ofthat we offer in the workshops ficially begin on Oct. 21, when for students … Take advanteams and individuals must submit tage of the classes that we teach. a one-page summary of their idea Consider the entrepreneur— as well as a three-minute vidship minor, and really ... take adeo — to the University’s online vantage of all the resources that competition space. PAYTON DAVIS | GRAPHIC DESIGNER Auburn provides to help start a Twenty business ideas Auburn Univeristy hosts two compeitions sponsored by the Harbert College of Business, open to all students this fall. business.” Campus Editor



The Auburn Plainsman Midterm Edition

Fall 2021


‘Almost Twins’ paints picture of inclusion By HARLEE MEYDRECH Lifestyle Writer

Co-authors of the children’s book “Almost Twins,” Anna Moates and Anna Penland, met at Auburn University three years ago in 2018. Penland said she was one of the first volunteers to help with the Education to Accomplish Grown in Life Experiences for Success program, often shortened to the EAGLES program. She said they became very close friends through that experience. Per the Auburn University website, “The EAGLES program is a comprehensive transition program (CTP) for students with intellectual disabilities.” “The EAGLES program is for people with disabilities to get the chance to have a college experience,” Moates said. According to the “Almost Twins” website, Anna Moates was the first girl with Down syndrome that joined the EAGLES program at Auburn University.

Moates said her sister, Ashley Moates, was Miss Auburn from 2017 to 2018 and helped support and raise awareness for the EAGLES program through her campaign. Penland described Moates as a “trailblazer” for multiple reasons. Not only was Moates a pioneer for the EAGLES program, she was also one of the first people with a disability to co-author a book. Penland said it took about a year and a half to fully transform the idea of a book into reality. The creation of the “Almost Twins” children’s book, co-written by Moates and Penland, stems from their desires to see a character with a disability in print. “Almost Twins” celebrates Moates’ and Penland’s differences and what makes them unique. “It’s really important that when you become friends with someone you have a lot in common,” Penland said. “Anna and I call each other twin because we have so much in common, but we also really wanted to celebrate the differences. We want to encourage kids


Anna Moates and Anna Penland pioneer inclusion in their children’s books, “Almost Twins.”

from a young age that differences are awesome because when you’re informed about something it’s not as scary.” Penland and Moates’ motivations for “Almost Twins” are spurred by the underrepresentation of people with disabilities in children’s books, especially. “I was in an early childhood education class when I was at Auburn, and we talked about children’s books,” Penland said. “The last day of the semester, our teacher read a book where the dad was in a wheelchair,” Penland said. “And he mentioned how underrepresented people with disabilities are in books. Think about it, you never really see characters in books that are anything other than just that, an average character. So, I called Anna, and I asked her if she ever saw herself in a book as a character. We both paused and thought ‘hmm, maybe we could change that.’” Penland has since graduated from Auburn University with a major in early childhood education and is now a first-grade teacher. Moates is a current student at Auburn

University, majoring in hospitality and minoring in music education through the EAGLES program. “‘Almost Twins’ follows the plot of us throwing a surprise party,” Penland said. “We tried to sprinkle in both of our strengths and weaknesses and show that they can complement each other and work together, no matter if you have a disability or not.” Moates explained that as a person with a disability, for her, “Almost Twins” is a story about inclusion and celebrating one’s differences. “Almost Twins” has already begun to reach children with disabilities through its message about the importance of inclusion. “At every single event we’ve gone to, there has been a child with Down syndrome that has attended,” Penland said. “There was a little boy when we were in Seaside [at a book signing] and his parents said that he saw himself in the book. He pointed at Anna Moates’ picture on every page. That is kind of our new ‘why’. We wanted children to see themselves in our book.”


The pair takes part in book readings and signings at schools across Auburn and Opelika.

Fall 2021

The Auburn Plainsman Midterm Edition




A view of Plainsman Park and Jordan-Hare Stadium from the Auburn Minecraft Project.

Alum builds Auburn block by block By SABINA CRISITELLO Lifestyle Writer

Meet Chris Smith: the second-generation Auburn grad that is building Auburn from the ground up ... in Minecraft. After graduating with a major in graphic design, the Auburn local pursued his master’s degree in game design from the University of Central Florida. It was not until he moved back to The Plains that Smith stumbled into a life-changing opportunity, the Auburn Minecraft Project. The project was originally started by Trey Long during his time as a student at Auburn. Long posted his first video of the project on YouTube in 2013, and his creation went viral. The video, which surveyed 10 out of the 89 buildings Long hoped to build, has almost 17,000 views. Long hoped to replicate Auburn’s campus on Minecraft using a 1:1 scale. Now, eight years later, the project showcases over 900 updates on its Twitter account. It was the original video that captured Smith’s atten-

tion. He reached out to Long, hoping to put his background in game design to use, and the rest was history. Smith’s initial contribution to the project was remodeling the previously built structures to reflect the correct terrain on Auburn’s campus. “Originally, we were trying to do it by hand,” Smith said. He went on to add that the project was taken to a “completely different level” when they employed geographical information systems — often shortened to GIS — terrain technology. This technology has allowed for the project to become exponentially more accurate. In the project’s eight years, it has grown to reflect Auburn’s entire campus, including large contributions such as Jordan-Hare Stadium, Plainsman Park and Toomer’s Corner. When asked what’s next for the project, Smith said that he has recruited current students to help replicate the more niche environments throughout the community, such as apartment buildings, band practice fields and

the Auburn University Regional Airport. “Everybody has ties,” Smith said. “They want to build what they’re associated with, and that’s really cool.” Smith believes that the future of the Minecraft Project relies on student involvement. He hopes to have more people volunteer to help update the project as the Auburn community changes. Although he recognizes that the project will never be perfect, Smith said he aims to make it look as complete as possible. “We even put that big red crane out in front of [Ralph Brown Draughon Library] at one point just because that’s how Auburn was for about four years,” Smith said. Smith knows firsthand that building a Minecraft replica of an ever-changing community is a challenge, but he believes the familiarity his audience feels when looking at the project is what makes it so special. “There are times where it feels real,” Smith said. Follow along with the Minecraft project on Twitter @MCAubie and Instagram @mcaubie.

Emerge at Auburn is designed to help Auburn students develop the skills to lead on campus, in the community and in their future career through a variety of programs and opportunities.

• Learn the basic skills and knowledge you will use to be a leader at Auburn • Semester-long experience with weekly small groups

• Understand how leadership and service connect to create change

• Transform your leadership experiences for your career

• Design and implement a project to begin working toward change in the community

• Develop your professional portfolio and be paired with a campus or industry mentor


october 21

october 26

november 17

leadercast conference

revolutionary leadership

civil rights & leadership

8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Student Activities Center RSVP at

11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. MSC 2222 RSVP at

12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. MSC 2222 RSVP at

Millions discover their favorite reads on issuu every month.

Give your content the digital home it deserves. Get it to any device in seconds.