On Saturday, April 11, more than 140 Belmont students came together at Rose Park to celebrate the University’s 15th annual Family Literacy Day. Held every year, the event invites families from the Rose Park neighborhood to read with Belmont students to promote literacy throughout the community. This year, more than 160 community members registered for the event, doubling numbers from last year’s celebration.
Belmont’s Director of Service Learning and event organizer Tim Stewart said Family Literacy Day began as part of a grant that has funded and spurred the creation of many other events that encourage literacy throughout the Nashville community. “The fact that we’ve been doing Family Literacy Day for so long is a strong testament to Belmont’s desire to encourage children and families in our community to read. It also provides a great opportunity for our students to give of themselves to brighten the lives of others,” Stewart said.
During Wednesday’s Scholarship and Awards Day convocation in the Massey Performing Arts Center, Belmont’s top students and faculty were honored for their commitment to the University’s mission and dedication to scholarship, service and leadership. Chemistry Professor Dr. Kim Daus, the 2013-14 Chaney Distinguished Professor, gave the ceremony’s Honors Address and discussed heroes and how they improve our lives. Citing a recent study that showed the prevalence of heroes closely related to members of Generation Next, Daus charged attendees to make a difference in the lives of others and left the audience with lyrics from a Harry Chapin song, one of Daus’s self-proclaimed heroes. “Now if a man tried to take his time on Earth and prove before he died what one man’s life could be worth, I wonder what would happen to this world.”
The presentation of the annual John Williams Heart of Belmont Award is greatly anticipated each year as one student is recognized for their commitment to Belmont’s values including innovation, persistence, advocacy for change, community development and service. The 2015 recipient, Tina Sharma, is a double major studying applied discrete mathematics and economics and when she isn’t working on assignments, completing duties associated with her leadership roles or internships, Tina said her time at Belmont has been “unconditionally poured into working as a community activist.”
Patrick Klepek, senior reporter with gaming news and opinion site Kotaku, kicked off a timely symposium Tuesday focused on internet privacy and social networks. Speaking on the topic “Protecting Yourself in a World without Privacy,” Klepek noted, “The world we live in now is one in which slowly over time we have ceded more and more of our privacy.”
Klepek reiterated throughout his presentation that users need to be more responsible for protecting themselves and their information, starting with creating more demanding passwords. He cited a recent study that showed 10 of the most common passwords, including “12345,” “password” “baseball” and “qwerty.” “All of your passwords are terrible,” he said. “We all know what we probably should be doing with passwords, but we don’t.”
The rise in GPS-enabled applications also can cause privacy issues as it makes location tracking possible, as pointed out by websites like pleaserobme.com, which focuses on raising awareness about over sharing of personal information.
Another negative aspect of readily available public information and contact on the internet is the rise in bullying through threatening and often anonymous revelations on social media. “The Internet has allowed escalation of this kind of harassment where you can do a lot of damage without incurring any personal consequences.”
Students from all areas of campus came together Thursday, April 9, to raise money and awareness for causes close to their hearts. Belmont’s International Justice Mission (IJM) and Alpha Tau Omega (ATO) chapters set up camp underneath the Bell Tower for a day full of awareness and change.
Passersby may have wondered why students were dressed in funny clothing, running around and “capturing” their friends to throw them into a makeshift jail. The answer? Jailbreak – an annual event where ATO members raise money for their philanthropy, Blood: Water Mission, by “placing a bounty,” or pledging a dollar amount to have friends put in their jail by member deputies. The event also included a cook-out and musical performances from Belmont musicians Katherine Munoz, Haylee Page, Monica Moser, Sawyer, Chip Colon, Michael D’Errico and Kiya Lacey.
ATO raised more than $6,000 through the participation of more than 500 people. A representative from the national fraternity’s headquarters filmed the event to be used for ATO Roadshow, an outlet that showcases worthy chapter events to ATO members on a national level. Jailbreak’s video will be shown to chapters at national conventions and leadership seminars, as well as on the fraternity’s website.
Students plan, produce, star in concert for 1,500+ guests
On Saturday, April 11, at 7 p.m. Belmont University’s Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business (CEMB) will present its annual Best of the Best Showcase. The free show, which is open to the public and offers a variety of musical performances from rock to urban/pop to Christian to country, will honor longtime music executive Gary Overton with the Robert E. Mulloy Award of Excellence. This award is given annually to an individual who has achieved a level of excellence in the music business and entertainment industries with notable service to Belmont University and the Nashville community.
Gary Overton has been a leading force in the Nashville music community for decades, most recently as the chairman and CEO of Sony Music Nashville, home of country superstars Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood. Prior to his five-year tenure at Sony, Overton served for 15 years as executive vice president and general manager of EMI Music Publishing’s Nashville division, where he was responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations, including the exploitation of copyrights, acquisition of catalogs, signing of writers and artists, and securing record deals. During his tenure, the company earned Publisher of the Year honors from ASCAP, BMI and/or SESAC a total of 12 times. Prior to joining EMI, Overton was personal manager for country artist Alan Jackson and served tenures as head of A&R for BNA Entertainment and vice president of Warner/Chappell Music. Overton currently serves on the Belmont University/Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business Advisory Board, in addition to other volunteer efforts.
“The Best of the Best showcase continues in the tradition of providing a professional performance opportunity for our student artists and hands on experience for our live audio, lighting and production student teams,” said Curb College Dean Doug Howard. “The impact of these experiences plays a key part of a Curb College education and can be seen in the creative and expert talents of our alumni all over Music City and the entertainment world at large. I’m also incredibly grateful for Gary Overton’s years of service both as an advisory board member and as a generous benefactor for our programs, and I’m delighted that ‘Best of the Best’ will honor him Saturday night.”