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Belmont BSA Members Featured in ‘The Huffington Post’


Left to right: Hart, Robinson and Bryant.

Belmont University’s Black Student Association members Keayana Robinson, Cameron Bryant and Kristoff Hart have been featured in The Huffington Post for their song and video “I Dig the Skin I’m In,” an empowering testament to their refusal to be anything less than comfortable in their own skin despite the things that have been said to them.

The article entitled “MC Shakes Off Being Told She’s ‘Too Dark’ With Funk and Grace” discusses the message behind the song that addresses modern racism and bullying.

Robinson told The Huffington Post that it took time for her to become confident enough to speak out about her experiences. Part of the journey, she said, was simply “being able to sit down and say those words aloud.”

“I’m not hearing your lies. I look great in my eyes. This may be a surprise, but I’m cool with me,” she sings in part of the song’s chorus.

The song and its message came about pretty organically, according to Robinson.

“We were sitting around and we just stumbled upon a beat and we started listening and Kristoff and I started singing and we decided to write to it,” she told The Huffington Post. “Once we got the message that we wanted, we just took off from there.”

The trio’s collaboration has been met with what Robinson describes as a “nice, welcoming response” from the Belmont community.

“We’re all about embracing differences. … I think that it’s definitely extremely important for members of the African-American community to embrace their differences and their skin and their flaws, because they’re beautiful,” Robinson said.

Read the full article here. View the “I Dig the Skin I’m In” music video here.

Two Belmont Students Compete Sept. 14 in Miss America Pageant

Belmont contestants

Swanson (left) and Lewis (right)

Next Sunday night, Belmont University will be the only college in the nation to have two students competing in the Miss America pageant, broadcast live on ABC from Atlantic City, New Jersey. The Sept. 14 program will feature Belmont senior Hayley Lewis, who was crowned Miss Tennessee June 21, as well as junior Megan Swanson, who was named Miss Nebraska earlier this summer.

Lewis earned the highest score in the talent category on the night of the Tennessee pageant for her performance of “I (Who Have Nothing).” She will defer from the University for one year to travel the state as Gov. Bill Haslam’s spokesperson for Character Education as well as the goodwill ambassador for Children’s Miracle Network before returning to campus in August 2015 to complete her studies in music business and classical vocal performance. Previously at Belmont, Lewis provided game day support for the basketball and baseball teams and was an active participant in the Beltones.

Swanson, who performed ”You Raise Me Up” during the Nebraska scholarship pageant, is studying music and plans to become a motivational speaker and singer/songwriter.

Both Belmont undergraduates are taking this year off from school to attend to their state-wide duties.

Students ‘Cultivate’ Produce for Belmont Community

cultivate garden -0103-LWhen Associate Dean for Performance Studies Jeff Kirk left campus Thursday afternoon, he drove by Compton Avenue where students handed him a crate of spinach, squash and lettuce, which his wife used to make lettuce wraps for dinner.

“I am sure happy I did. I am happy to know we can get fresh, organic vegetables once a week, and the price is much cheaper than the grocery store,” Kirk said. “This is another way Belmont is taking care of us and the community as well.”

This summer junior Brett Wisse and senior Johnathan West revived Belmont’s garden through Enactus, an organization that brings together student, academic and business leaders committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need. Wisse and West have invested $2,000 building eight raised beds and an aqua pond to start new crops in the garden, which they have named Cultivate.

Although the garden has been on Belmont’s campus for several years, it hasn’t consistently produced a harvest as students graduate and leave campus for the summer. The garden was born in 2008 when Chemistry Professor Kimberlee Daus’ honors analytics class did chemistry tests on soil in a vacant lot and researched what types of plants would grow there. A first-year seminar class built rock beds and did initial planting in 2009. Two years later, the University formed a partnership with the Dismas House, and students in Adjunct Instructor Charmion Gustke’s first-year service learning and English 1010 classes used their harvests to supplement the meals of former prisoners transitioning back into society. (more…)

Online Tagboard Captures Belmont ‘From Here to Anywhere’

Students pet a cheetah in Capetown, South Africa. (Photo by Atalanta Benitz)

Students pet a cheetah in Capetown, South Africa. (Photo by Atalanta Benitz)

This summer Belmont’s Social Media Administration Team (SMAT), in collaboration with intern coordinators across campus and the Office of Study Abroad, created an online tagboard to capture images of Belmont students and employees exploring sites around the world.

Using the hashtag #belmont2anywhere, individuals can post photos or videos via Instagram, Facebook, Vine and Twitter, and the images are automatically loaded onto a curated page: In the past week alone, more than 100 photos have been added from sites as far-ranging as South Africa, Poland, Hawaii, Haiti, Brazil, Czech Republic, Turkey, Greece, Israel and Washington, D.C.

Social Media & Digital Marketing Specialist Lougan Bishop, who chairs the SMAT, said, “For years Belmont’s tagline has been ‘From Here to Anywhere,’ and our students and alumni definitely live up to that challenge. With social media, we can really see the impact of that statement as our students share their amazing experiences through internships, mission trips and study abroad. It’s only May. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the summer has in store.”

Read more about Belmont’s Maymester Study Abroad programs here.

MSN Students Achieve 100 Percent First-Time Pass Rate

10 Years of Perfection for Nursing Graduates

December 2013 MSN graduating class

December 2013 MSN graduating class

For the tenth consecutive year, graduates of the Belmont University master’s program (MSN) for Family Nurse Practitioners (FNP) have achieved a 100 percent first time pass rate on the nursing certification examination. The most recent class of 28 graduates all passed the exam on the first attempt this spring. Nationally, only 80 percent of new FNP graduates pass on the first attempt.

“This is a truly remarkable accomplishment,” said Dr. Martha Buckner, associate dean of nursing.  “We are so proud of the sustained level of excellence by our students and faculty and for the leadership of program director and professor of nursing, Dr. Leslie Higgins.”

The School of Nursing began offering the Master of Science in Nursing 20 years ago, and the program has grown throughout the years to a record enrollment of 83 students this past fall. FNP graduates enjoy significant professional flexibility and marketability. Prepared to practice in a variety of settings, FNPs provide primary health care to families and individuals of all ages.


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