The Blog @
Southern Virginia University
  1. Travel Study Photos: Journey to Nauvoo

    April 23, 2014

    During spring break last month, a group of students led by Provost Madison Sowell and Professor Debra Sowell took a trip to Nauvoo to see firsthand the Nauvoo Temple and historical sites.

    “I had the opportunity to find my ancestor’s name in the Pioneer Memorial and also quoted on the statue of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young,” said Nathan Seeberger, a Southern Virginia student. “The highlight of the day was … the Nauvoo Temple. By far that was the best experience I had [in Nauvoo]. The temple [was] a great monument to all of us as we toured Nauvoo and it was great to be inside.”

    Nathan Seeberger’s wife, Brittany Seeberger, said that the trip was her favorite experience that she has had while attending Southern Virginia.

    Bubba and Laura Eisenhauer both said that one of the highlights of the trip was the testimony meeting with the group.

    “We walked the Trail of Hope,” said Jayna Jackson. “My heart was full while walking this trail. I tried to place myself mentally in [the saints'] shoes and that gave me a greater insight. I was thinking about how it would feel to leave a city which so much effort had gone into building and leaving the beautiful temple … on the hill.”

    (Post by Hannah Benson Rodriguez ’13. Photos courtesy of Dr. Debra Sowell.)

  2. Photos: Opera Sketches

    April 23, 2014

    Earlier this month, I had the pleasure to see both performances of the Southern Virginia University Opera Sketches. After training with Dr. Clayne Robison, visiting professor of music, and several student directors, a number of talented students performed a variety of operatic pieces. The program began with several duets and small scenes including the beautiful “Flower Duet” from “Lakmé” and a bitter scene from “Madame Butterfly.”

    After the intermission, they performed Puccini’s one-act comic opera, “Gianni Schicchi.” David Riska starred in the title role, portraying the conniving lawyer who both helps and hurts the Donati family. I particularly enjoyed Joanna Armstrong’s absolutely captivating performance of the famous aria, ”O mio babbino caro.” The entire cast of “Gianni Schicchi” did a wonderful job, especially during the complex and often hilarious ensemble numbers.

    Andrew King, who happens to be my fiancé, did an amazing job in his cameo performances as the comical Doctor Spinelloccio and the notary. In terms of acting and dedication, one of the highlights of the night was Phil Soelberg, who played the deceased Buoso Donati. Despite being carried, pushed, and shoved into cabinets, he never once broke character. Now that’s commitment to the show.

    Overall, I loved the performances and counted myself fortunate to be in the audience both evenings.

    (Post by Hannah Benson Rodriguez ’13. Photos by Lindsey Morgan ’13.)

  3. Introducing the New Student Executive Council

    April 16, 2014


    It’s that time of year again: there’s a freshly minted student executive council. They will serve in their various positions during the 2014-2015 academic year.

    Student Body President

    • Name: Kirsten Laurence
    • Hometown: Bountiful, Utah
    • Major: Business Management & Leadership
    • Minor: Music
    • Year in school: Junior
    • Interesting Fact: “I love to watch Spongebob in my spare time”

    Vice President of Operations

    • Name: Wright Noel
    • Hometown: Seattle, Washington
    • Major: Business Management & Leadership
    • Year in school: Sophomore
    • Interesting fact: Served a mission in Brazil

    Vice President of Campus Programming

    • Name: Elissa Greenman
    • Hometown: Burley, Idaho
    • Major: Liberal Arts
    • Year in school: Junior
    • Interesting fact: “I speak three languages”

    Vice President of Arts and Athletics

    • Name: Rex Winslow
    • Hometown: Ventura, California
    • Year in school: Sophomore
    • Majors: Liberal Arts and Computer Science
    • Interesting fact: “I have been to France twice but never seen the Eiffel Tower”

    Vice President of Finance

    • Name: Darlynn McFadden
    • Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    • Major: Business Management & Leadership
    • Year in school: Junior

    Vice President of Honor

    • Name: Kaitlyn Fife
    • Hometown: Shreveport, Louisiana
    • Majors: English, Theatre, and Liberal Arts
    • Year in school: Senior
    • Interesting Fact: “First solo flight as a student pilot at 16 years old — and almost crashed because the engine died”

    Vice President of Service

    • Name: Dan Cline
    • Hometown: Crescent, Iowa
    • Major: Liberal Arts
    • Track: Pre-medical
    • Year in school: Junior
    • Interesting fact: “I feel invincible in a rock climbing harness”


    • Name: Morgan Dignard
    • Hometown: Chesapeake, Virginia
    • Major: Business Management & Leadership
    • Year in school: Sophomore
    • Interesting fact: “I’m in a band!”

    (Post by Hannah Benson Rodriguez ’13. Photos by Jordan Wunderlich ’16.)

  4. Photos: Shenanigans

    April 14, 2014

    This weekend was full of shenanigans, but I’m not talking about my own; I’m talking about Southern Virginia University’s improvisation group, Shenanigans, that performed in the university’s ballroom on Friday night. Imagine attending a showing of “Whose Line is it Anyway?” (that show from Comedy Central hosted by Drew Carey) but for free!

    The show featured a cast of four guys and four girls who alternated into different combinations and pairs to “play” different “games.” Topics for the games were based on either audience suggestions or predetermined prompts from the group.

    Here’s an example of one of the more interesting and difficult games: the cast was supposed to converse with one another casually, but they were not allowed to use the letter “n.” That sounds difficult doesn’t it? It was, but it was also drop dead hilarious to see the performers making mistakes and having to switch out for a new person.

    In another game, three of the girls in the group called upon their unsuspecting boyfriends in the audience to come and join. The rules of the game were that the girls were not allowed to move unless their partner moved their body part for them; what a disaster that could have been! The boys had to follow the context of their girlfriends’ conversations to decide in what direction to move them, and vice versa, the girls had to improvise according to how their teammate positioned them.

    I think my favorite part of the show was the air horn that would blow every now and then, usually signaling the end of joke or an infraction in the rules. Also, because the weather is getting warmer, the windows were open, letting in a cool breeze from outside and keeping everybody cool.

    The performances by Shenanigans always draw a lot of attention and excitement. Typically, each performance starts off with an opening prayer, which isn’t surprising considering the good-natured elements of the show. Also typical is the incorporation of a plunger into almost every show. Yes, that’s right, the thing you use to unclog a toilet: a plunger. The Shenanigans’s shows in the past have been popular and remarkable for their inclusion of this household item. Improvisation is all about originality isn’t it? Prior to the show, they used plungers in the posters that were placed around campus announcing the upcoming event. Those definitely caught my attention!

    Shenanigans has an ever-changing cast of humorous and outgoing people; maybe one day I’ll see you performing.

    (Post by Brian Caycho ’16. Photos by Jordan Wunderlich ’16.)

  5. Photos: Pasta, Poetry and Prose

    April 10, 2014

    Every year, a careful and meticulous staff led by Professor Karen Hufford assembles a collection of writings and artwork into a literary magazine titled The Review. Submissions, which are welcome from any Southern Virginia student, are entered into one of three main categories: visual art, poetry, and prose. After the judging and the design are complete, copies of The Review are given out completely free.

    The whole process is done for the love of art. Many students and faculty dedicate hours on end to the production of The Review expecting nothing in return. The return for all the sacrifice, I think, comes with the final product and being able to distribute the wonderful work it contains to the student body. Each issue of Southern Virginia’s literary magazine marks and records a set of works specific to the particular semester, and since no two semesters are alike, each issue really becomes a precious document of history and recorded talent.

    On Friday night, the staff of The Review put together an event called “Pasta, Poetry & Prose.” It was a fundraiser for the expenses that next year’s issue will require. As the title suggests — and I’m not going to mention the alliteration — the night included spaghetti and readings of poetry and prose both original and classic. Students were even given a discounted ticket price if they volunteered to read at the podium. Poetry and prose, I suppose, just go naturally with pasta — and once again, I’m not making reference to the alliteration in their names. It’s like an variation of dinner and a movie, and it’s also a fantastic idea for a fancy and inexpensive date.

    Not only was it for a good cause, but we were served delicious pasta while being entertained by the poetic words of the scheduled readers. During the night, the selections of texts presented ranged from humorous haikus to excerpts from short stories and poetry. The readers were really enthusiastic and passionate about their choices, and the audience received each piece with a heartwarming and well-deserved applause. Then of course there was open microphone time and yes, more pasta!

    I’m glad that the staff put together the night of entertainment, and I’m glad it was well-supported by those who attended. I’m looking forward to the next issue of The Review even though I’m still perusing the first; I know it will be filled with more moving art and writing! I definitely hope the next issue brings along with it another entertaining fundraiser too.

    (Post by Brian Caycho ’16. Photos by Jordan Wunderlich ’16.)