Belmont public relations majors received national accolades at the recent Public Relations Student Society of America National Conference in Philadelphia. Belmont PRSSA received a Star Chapter Award, recognizing excellence in 10 areas including community service, ethics advocacy and leadership.
Two Belmont students received individual awards. Andy Cole, immediate past president of Belmont PRSSA, received a PRSSA National Gold Key Award for outstanding leadership and professional promise. Cole and Katie Mulrain, Belmont PRSSA vice president, received a PRSSA President’s Citation for contributions to the local student chapter.
Eight student leaders and two faculty members from the department of public relations attended the conference. Students attending were Cole, Mulrain, Makenzie Albracht, Arielle Schrader, Catie Benenson, Mary Anna Davis, Alex Heavner and Victoria Lewis. Faculty attending were Dr. Bonnie Riechert, associate professor and chair of the department of public relations, and Dr. Kevin Trowbridge, assistant professor in the department.
Riechert and Cole spoke on a panel on hosting regional conferences, sharing experiences from the PRSSA Region 5 Conference hosted here in March 2012, for which the chapter received the 2012 Outstanding Regional Conference Award.
“Our public relations students are engaged in cutting-edge trends and developments in the industry,” said Riechert, who has served as PRSSA faculty advisor since 2006. “Our student leaders are carrying on the standard of excellent student leadership that is a tradition in our department.”
PRSSA is made up of more than 10,000 students and advisers organized into 332 chapters in the United States and one in Argentina. It is the foremost organization for students interested in public relations and communications. PRSSA is supported by parent organization, the Public Relations Society of America, which offers professional development, networking opportunities and leadership in ethics. The Belmont Chapter of PRSSA is sponsored by Nashville PRSA. (image – PRSSA_2013_award.jpg)
Nathan Cruse, a third-year doctoral student in the School of Occupational Therapy, was part of a volunteer team organized by Achilles International to guide a blind runner through the 26.2-mile New York City Marathon on Nov. 3. Cruse signed up to be a guide in May and was chosen to be one of three individuals to guide runner Theresa Khayyam. In the months leading up to the marathon, he guided Khayyam in training runs once or twice a week, working on running in unpredictable weather and on unfamiliar courses to increase her confidence in her abilities and her faith in her guides.
“I love the feeling of completing a race, knowing that all the sweat and pain of training has truly paid off,” said Cruse. He added, “I have always imagined what it would feel like to cross the finish line of the New York City Marathon. Little did I know that taking a back seat and standing alongside another runner while she completed the race would be an even greater experience,” said Cruse, an avid runner.
Cruse has become increasingly involved with Achilles International, an organization that coordinates guides for athletes with disabilities. He participates in weekly runs and has performed guide duties for athletes with a wide variety of disabilities, from cerebral palsy to visual impairments to spinal cord injuries.
“It is an amazing opportunity to help others find joy in an activity that has become such a big part of my life,” he said.
On race day, Cruse ran alongside of Khayyam as she trekked through all five boroughs of New York City, battling exhaustion and chilly morning air while being encouraged by enormous crowds.
“The running was completely her own,” said Cruse, “and through determination and perseverance, Theresa completed the marathon in six hours, 45 minutes and 34 seconds. I could not have been prouder to stand by her side.”
Belmont sophomore Paul Macedonia recently won the Volunteer of the Year award from Rocketown, a downtown Nashville ministry to high risk youth founded by Belmont Board of Trustees member and longtime musician Michael W. Smith. A project manager for Belmont’s Enactus team, Macedonia and other Enactus students have spent the past year volunteering more than 400 hours at Rocketown building relationships with youth ages 8-22 who attend the programs at the club. Through their efforts, the team is now in the beginning stages of creating a unique social enterprise that would involve financial literacy education opportunities for the youth as well as create a sustainable revenue source for the venue. A native of Pittsburgh, Penn., Macedonia is pursuing a double major in music business and social entrepreneurship.
The Belmont University Equestrian Club participated in the Maryville College Horse Show on Oct. 26-27 in Knoxville, Tenn. Competing in the South Region IHSA Zone 5, Region 1, not only did every member place, the team also brought home two first place ribbons.
“It’s nice that all of the other universities in the area are starting to recognize Belmont as having a good equestrian program,” said founding member Julie Anderson, “We’ve been trying to be very active with other university coaches and students to get the word out.”
The year-old team has already grown to have 15 members and works in collaboration with the Vanderbilt Equestrian Team, having recently hosted a team-building dinner of almost 40 people.
The next show for the Belmont team will be in February at Middle Tennessee State University.
On Oct. 21, eight students from Belmont’s Environment and Conservation Organization (ECO) volunteered at the Nashville Zoo’s Ghouls at Grassmere event. The students worked the game booths including basketball, skee ball, slingshots and a high striker. It was a cold but very fun time for the ECO members. This annual Nashville Zoo fundraiser is a community favorite with exciting Halloween activities for children and families.
National Chemistry Week, Oct. 20-26, was celebrated on the Belmont campus with events sponsored by students and faculty associated with the Student Members of the American Chemical Society (SMACS) club. Dr. Alison Moore and Dr. Rachel Rigsby are the club faculty advisors. The activities included: Hey, Look at this Awesome Science! convocation that focused on science in everyday life; Pin the Element on the Periodic Table activity and celebration of Mole Day, with a cupcake giveaway; Words with Elements activity, using atomic symbols to spell words; and a club Fall Cookout and Pumpkin Carving at Moore’s house.
National Chemistry Week is an annual event that encourages chemists and chemistry enthusiasts to build awareness of chemistry at the local level and promote the value of chemistry in everyday life. Mole Dole is celebrated every Oct. 23 from 6:02 a.m. to 6:02 p.m. in commemoration of Avogadro’s Number, according to the National Mole Day Foundation Inc. website. What’s Avogadro’s Number? It is 6.02 x 1023, a basic measuring unit in chemistry discovered by the 18th century chemist Amadeo Avogadro. This explains the time and day it is celebrated: 6:02 10/23. For the nongeeky, nonsciencey types out there, a mole is a number used in chemistry quite a bit. It is used to measure the number of atoms or molecules in a sample, and it equals 6.02 x 1023—a pretty hefty number. It was a fun, geeky week for all.
Belmont Women’s Basketball team, Assistant Coach L’Tona Lamonte and Head Coach Cameron Newbauer served needy families during a community service project on Oct. 23. The student-athletes bagged donated food at Star Families. The organization provides the food twice a month to registered families that are either homeless, jobless or getting back on their feet.
EdSouth Chairman Ron Gambill and SouthEast Bank Scholarship Director Tommy Schumpert presented on Monday the first of four SouthEast Bank $7,000 checks Hannah Turner will receive during her tenure at Belmont University. She is the first Belmont student to receive the SouthEast Bank Scholarship, which awards $28,000 over four years to a business student.
“The stress has been taken away. I was so excited to find out about the scholarship, and my parents were too. This has helped greatly,” said Turner, a freshman from Hixson, Tenn. studying accounting. With receipt of the SouthEast Bank Scholarship, Turner said was able to cancel a student loan.
The SouthEast Bank Scholarship is given to a student from Tennessee studying finance, accounting or banking with at least a 3.25 high school grade point average and 23 ACT score as well as the financial need and evidence of community involvement. It is a reoccurring scholarship awarded biennially to a new student.
Schumpert said, “We are just glad to keep good students in Tennessee. There are so many great institutions like Belmont, and we know if we can get them to stay in state, then we know they will become great leaders here.”
Belmont University and SouthEast Bank’s parent company EdSouth previously partnered to award EdScholar, a general scholarship to incoming freshman. Since 2003, 14 students have been awarded a four-year $7,000 scholarship.
“It has been great to see the change that occurs in a student when they are able to be the first to go to college,” said Gambill, the first in his family to purse higher education. A former high school guidance counselor and college financial aid administrator, Gambill said he has a passion for enabling education and is dedicated to ensuring the state has a well-prepared workforce through students.
EdSouth, having commenced full operations in the spring of 1988, is a nonprofit, public benefit corporation organized for the purpose of promoting access to higher education by acquiring postsecondary education loans under Title IV of the Federal Higher Education Act of 1965. With assets of approximately $6 billion, EdSouth has funded the educational pursuits of over 1 million postsecondary students.
For the fourth year, professors Nick Bacon and Charmion Gustke took students enrolled in “The Mind and Body Connection” to David Dailey’s Real Food Farms in Franklin, Tenn. The purpose of this field trip was to introduce students to a biodynamic farm, giving them a first-hand look at the challenges and benefits of sustainable food practices. Free from pesticides, genetic engineering and chemical fertilizers, Real Food Farms is a wonderful example of a local solution to the global health concerns facing our students. During their most recent trip, students played with piglets born the previous day, planted garlic, built tomato cages and enjoyed a freshly prepared lunch created by Belmont nursing student Robin Queen, a trained chef and passionate foodie. The menu included local cheeses, barbecue farm-raised chicken, organic salad, homemade cornbread and chocolate-mint cookies served with farm fresh milk. After lunch, students enjoyed a question-and-answer session with Dailey discussing current trends in food production, eating healthily and supporting local farms.
The Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business hosted the first of this year’s American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Writers’ Nights on Oct. 8. The evening began with the presentation of the 2013-14 ASCAP Foundation Songwriters Scholarship at Belmont University to junior songwriting major Alysa Vanderheym. This $2,000 award, made possible by The ASCAP Foundation Bart Howard Fund, will support Vanderheym’s academic endeavors while she is, in her words, “evolving as an individual and as a writer so that I may realize my potential to write hits and fulfill the world’s need for great songs as well as my own personal dream.” Vanderheym is the seventh Belmont songwriting student to receive The ASCAP Foundation Songwriters Scholarship since its inception at Belmont in 2008.
The ASCAP Foundation’s ongoing gift builds on a tradition of ASCAP support for student songwriters at Belmont. For the last eight years, ASCAP has sponsored a Writers’ Night Series hosted by the Curb College in the Curb Café, a student run venue. Produced by Belmont students, the series consists of two shows each semester that feature four Belmont student writers performing in the round and judged by professional publishers and writers along with ASCAP Nashville Membership co-head LeAnn Phelan and ASCAP Creative Manager Ryan Beuschel.
After the scholarship award presentation, selected Belmont songwriters Bryce Merritt, Hannah Rand, Kel Taylor and Andrew Tufano played to a full audience at the Curb Café “Bluebird style,” performing in the round. Guest judge publisher Travis Gordon of Universal and guest ASCAP songwriter Matt Warren, artist and staff songwriter for Amylase Entertainment/Warner Chappell Publishing, along with Phelan and Bueschel, chose Hanna Rand as the winning writer.
“The long-running relationship between the Curb College and ASCAP has made a significant difference in the lives of our students,” said Lucas Boto, CEMB coordinator of sound reinforcement & live events. “LeAnn Phelan and Ryan Beuschel have added greatly to ASCAP’s consistent financial support by generously giving their time, energy, expertise and advice to our students. We are so thankful to have ASCAP as a partner for our writers’ night showcase series.”