Community Engagement Through the Arts

Lesley Goodaker

In spite of Transylvania’s longstanding place in the heart of Lexington, it is only within recent years that the greater Lexington area and members of Transylvania’s community have had a more interactive relationship. Recent years have seen the creation of paper lanterns hung in a local park, temporary murals displayed in local establishments, birdhouses distributed throughout out nearby neighborhoods, and marketing efforts with local non-profit organizations. As a Writing, Rhetoric, and Communication (WRC) student, I have had the privilege of being involved with two courses which have worked alongside community partners.

Community Engagement muralA mural created through community engagement

My first efforts that took me outside of the Transy Bubble were a part of my Digital Rhetoric course. The course, taught by second year professor Dr. Kerri Hauman, unveiled the manner through which digital tools are influencing our understandings of rhetorical conventions and principles. Accordingly, we utilized a number of digital tools including audio recorders, camcorders, and online sites to create variosu pieces of work throughout the semester. In taking our studies a step further and outside of The Bubble, Dr. Hauman organized for our class of six (in conjunction with another WRC course)to work alongside of a local physical rehabilitation facility to create digital propaganda. My group was assigned to the facility’s Adaptive Recreation program. In doing so, we were given the opportunity to act as professionals in the work force. We were responsible for meeting with member’s on staff at the facility to determine what they were looking for in terms of final projects as well as organizing everything in between from interviews to filming. At the end of the term, our final was to present our projects to staff members at the facility.

Another project I was involved with was a part of the Writing for/with Non-profits course offered during May Term. The course, co-taught by Drs Kerri Hauman and Scott Whiddon, allowed for students to partner with members of the Lexington Community Action Council to again, produce viable propaganda for the organizations we worked with. Throughout the process, students worked within small groups to determine what would best suit each Community partner and serve them well in the years to come. While both professors offered their full assistance when needed, they ensured that their presence maintained a distance so that students felt secure and confident in the final works produced. Students were offered a sense of autonomy which many had never before been afforded in an academic setting.

Overall, both courses proved extremely rewarding. In terms of academics, I learned a great deal about rhetorical conventions and principles; however, in terms of practicality, I learned so much more. I learned how to work in a professional environment with members outside of the Transylvania community. Alongside my group mates, I worked to create finalized products which are ready to take their places in my digital portfolio. Most importantly, I learned to apply what I have been taught within each of my classes in a practical, real-world sense, and that alone, has been well worth the effort. No matter the class or professor, at Transylvania, students are continually encouraged to engage with the community around them using what they have learned in their classes. In this way, Transylvania students are leaps and bounds ahead of students on many other campuses who have been confined to the four walls of their classrooms.

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All I Want for Christmas is… to Spend Time with Friends

J.T Henderson

I had always heard that your time in college is when you’ll have the most amount of free time that you will ever have during the rest of your life. I was definitely looking forward to this “free time” coming to college myself. Most Transy students have four classes per semester, which is about 12 hours of class each week. When you’re not in class, of course there are always other things that you should be doing; such as homework, papers, meetings, practices, rehearsals, and the list goes on. This is where your time management responsibilities should come into play; although sometimes this can be a challenge. However, this sometimes can also lead to the most memorable experiences, like it did in my case.

Transy’s Delta Sigma Phi Beta Mu chapter created the extremely popular and hilarious lip dub of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” at the beginning of the semester. Two of my Delta Sigma Phi pledge brothers, Ben Wagner and Dane Ritter, decided that a great way to strengthen our pledge class bond would be to do our own, timely lip dub video that would allow everyone to have a great laugh and relax for 5 minutes during finals week. This led to one of the most enjoyable activities I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of during my first semester- making a holiday lip dub video of one of the most popular, holiday songs – the one and only – Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You!” We wanted to make our video really good and more importantly, have a great time doing it. We also thought choosing this song would be a great idea because 2014 is the twentieth anniversary year of the song.

J.T All I want for Christmas

A photo of us rehearsing the last scene of the video

Making the video was so much fun! We spent most of the Saturday getting decorations and decorating one of the residence halls. We then filmed a few takes of the video in about an hour on Sunday. Ben and Dane had the video uploaded by lunch the next day and it began spreading all across campus and the web! It was quite the challenge finishing up our finals with all the attention we were getting because of the video. However; we all managed to finish the semester strong by completing all of our final exams, papers, and assignments since at Transy, our first priority is academic achievement. Spending time with some of the best friends I have made at Transy right before winter break was absolutely necessary and fantastic! I hope that everyone has a relaxing break spent with those who matter the most. If you have a chance to check out the video, I promise it’ll get you in the holiday mood! Happy Holidays!

Making the Most of Your Summer

Justine Yentsch

If you’re an incoming student, it may sound to early to think about you are going to do in your first college summer, but it’s always good to think ahead. Just as there are many ways to bolster your academic experience (and resume!) during the school year, there are also unlimited options over the summer, either through the school or through other organizations. I’ve already calculated the exact number of days I have in summer (102 days to be exact), and I fully plan to make the most of them so I have have stories to tell once I get back to campus for fall semester.

First off, whatever you’re doing, you should definitely be enjoying your summer. It’s a great opportunity to relax, get back to a normal sleep schedule, and visit old friends. That being said, there’s nothing wrong with doing absolutely nothing if that’s what makes you happy and prepares you for the school year. But even if it’s just taking a roadtrip or crossing things off a summer bucket list, it’s always good to keep things interesting, otherwise the months might be pretty boring.

Some people head off to foreign countries, either with a study abroad program or with their family. You can immerse yourself in different cultures, be exposed to history, and maybe learn a little bit of another language. But you can also learn just as much by traveling to different places within your own country. Being in new surroundings can change your perspective of the world and can inspire you.

Pizza, Calzones, and Other Reasons Ordering Food is Perfect

Justine Yentsch

There is just something about college that makes late-night pizza orders perfectly acceptable no matter what situation.

Studying? Of course you deserve cinnamon sticks.

Failed a test? Obviously you need a large cheese pizza (and you should probably start reading your textbook more often)

Got an A on a test? Pretty sure cheese sticks are necessary.

Fortunately, there are plenty of options for ordering food in Lexington, no matter what time, mood, or craving. In fact, periodically through the year, you get coupon books in the mail, with deals on everything from haircuts to chili. And at Transylvania, there are definitely some favorites that are pretty much offered every time there is free food offered at an event (which thankfully happens quite often). Since Lexington is a college town, there are many restaurants in close proximity, so it doesn’t take long for your delivery-person to arrive in Back Circle with your food (and yes, every delivery service I’ve experienced so far already knows where the Transylvania dorms are). So here are some of the classics you’ll have to try sometime in your college life, or even just in the first month of school (No judgement here): Continue reading

Creative Engagements

Justine Yentsch

As a first-year at Transylvania, it can sometimes be intimidating to get involved with events around campus. There is so much going on, it can be overwhelming at times. Thankfully, there is a system that helps expose you to many different types of performances, talks, events, and shows. When you get to Transylvania University for your first year, you will receive a long (very long) list of “Creative Engagements,” required and non-required events that will greatly enrich your understanding of local culture, your peers, and the world around you. In addition, you receive course credit for attending a certain amount!

Some example events:

  • Lexington Gallery Hop: Trashformed. “American artists intercept the waste stream of flotsam and jetsam of American  culture and transform them into works rich with meaning.”
  • Student Electronic Music Recital
  • Transylvania University Theater performance: “A Theatrical Adaptation of Lawrence Booth’s Book of Visions.” Continue reading

How to Manage Your Homework (Without Going Insane)

 Justine Yentsch

Although college is an amazing experience, sometimes people forget that the primary reason you attend is for the academics. And while it’s always good to challenge yourself, in your first semester as a first-year, it’s probably better to pick classes that you know that you can handle.

That being said, there are many ways you can go about using your time to prepare for class, and it goes way beyond just writing your papers and doing your assigned homework. If you want to get good grades and be prepared for finals, it is better to space out your studying throughout the semester instead of just cramming right before tests or quizzes. (Trust me, it never works out too well.) Luckily, there are plenty of ways to manage your course load, or even just to get a little ahead of the class. (It’s better than struggling to keep up!)

First and foremost, you absolutely-positively-imperatively need to pay attention in class. After all, your professor is there to teach, and you won’t do yourself a favor by skipping class to take an afternoon nap instead. Taking notes in class is pretty much expected of you, since your professor will most likely structure their tests around the same things they brought up in class. (And after class, make sure to reread your notes as much as possible. It’s probably the most important thing for your success in the class!) Continue reading

Understanding What “Liberal Arts” Means for Your Future

Justine Yentsch

Sometimes, it can be very difficult to explain just how important Liberal Arts are. If you go to the Wikipedia page, you get a confusing history lesson, but the Transylvania University page defines it pretty well:

“The word “liberal” comes from the Latin liberare, meaning “to free.” A better term, then, could be “liberating arts,” because that is what a liberal arts curriculum aims to do: liberate students from ignorance, preconceptions, and limitations — self-imposed or otherwise.

The “arts” aren’t just limited to subjects like sculpture, dance, or drama, either. Instead, they refer to all human pursuits worthy of intensive study and reflection, from chemistry to history to music.

By embracing all of human knowledge, the liberal arts clear the way for pioneering. Who says that a biology major can’t also study religion, or that environmental studies and Spanish have nothing to do with one another? The liberal arts enable you to draw connections between disparate fields of study, examine ideas and concepts, and challenge underlying assumptions” Continue reading