The Blog @
Southern Virginia University
  1. Orientation 2015: Day One

    August 28, 2015

    You know, I really just don’t know what fall orientation would be without a mechanical bull. It’s got so much personality. Our good friend returned for yet another orientation last week, joining the university to welcome a slew of new faces.

    Day one of orientation is a day for meeting new people and getting the lay of the land, and it’s topped off with a long-standing Southern Virginia tradition, Knight Games (gotta love those knight puns). From bouncy houses to bucking broncos to karaoke, there’s plenty to do and plenty to see. Oh, and eat. Can’t forget the beloved Mama Crockett’s donuts and Shaved Ice Shack, present to pass out free donuts and flavorful icy treats and to transport the day to an entirely new level of awesome.

    Knight Games also provides some of the university’s clubs, offices, and honor societies to meet with new students and help them pursue their interests from day one. I was there manning a booth for the Communications Office, as we’re on the lookout for new student interns. If you’re interested in more information, head to our Communications page on the website.

    And now, after that shameless plug (really, though, this is an amazing place to work), I leave you with a question: Have you attended a Southern Virginia orientation, just a week ago or in years past? What was your favorite part of your first day?

    (Post by Madeleine Gail Rex ’16. Photos by Jordan Wunderlich ’15.)

  2. Ice Cream in the Park

    August 27, 2015

    Last week, some friends and I had the chance to stop by the new Holy Cow! Ice Cream store in Glen Maury Park. The store is run by Lydia Benedict.  My friends and I heard about the grand opening from Jeff Benedict, distinguished professor of writing and mass media, who I am taking a Contemporary Issues course from this year.

    Holy Cow! uses dairy from grass-fed cows on small, local farms to create some truly fantastic ice cream. It was honestly the best ice cream that I’ve ever had. There was a large variety of flavors that will definitely keep me coming back. And not only is the ice cream delicious and creamy, but it’s fun to have a new place in the community to spend time on a lazy afternoon. I definitely recommend it as a great place for a date, or just to enjoy some refreshing dessert after a long day.

    (Post by Jordan Wunderlich ’15. Photos by Hannah King ’13.)

  3. East Coast Adventures: From Fenway to Author’s Ridge

    August 20, 2015

    Our view of Fenway.

    One nifty thing I’ve loved about attending Southern Virginia is the proximity to so many awesome historic and beautiful locations that seemed so distant to my little Northwestern self when I was a wee lass in Oregon.

    Living on the East Coast has provided me with opportunities to see some of the very far-off places I read about as a kid, and this past summer has been so jam-packed with great East Coast experiences that I couldn’t help reflecting on how grateful I am to be here. I felt that gratitude as I sat on an airplane, heading toward Boston, Mass., one such far-off location that I’d previously only visited in American history textbooks and TV shows.

    Quincy Market, one of the oldest and most bustling areas of Boston.

    I met my mom in Boston for the Fourth of July weekend, and, with the help of a savvy Bostonian (son of Irish immigrants with the coolest accent. He’s the real deal), we basked in all things New England. We stayed at a hotel smack dab in Kenmore Square and neighboring Fenway Stadium, home of the Boston Red Sox (you might have heard of them). We sat just above the dugout during a Red Sox game, ate gelato in the North End, strolled into Tiffany’s and promptly bought nothing, and watched fireworks and listened to the Boston Pops on the 4th from the balcony of a house on Beacon Street. It was the perfect trip.

    But it wasn’t just checking off boxes on the list of Boston sites that made it so extraordinary. Of course, the people we met (so great) and the buildings we saw (extraordinary) and the food we ate (oh man) contributed to the perfection, but there was something more to it. And that something more, I came to realize, was the influence of the liberal arts education I’d been receiving back in Buena Vista.

    Emerson’s house.

    I think the realization really hit when I was sitting at the Red Sox game, having fun but totally lost where the game was concerned (we had to keep asking other people what the score was), and a couple of middle-aged men sat down beside me. Before I knew it, I was having a conversation with one of them about Niccolo Machiavelli’s “The Prince.” Okay, “conversation” might not be the correct word. We were gabbing. We were talking about Machiavelli like he was a member of One Direction and we were fangirls (which, thankfully for everyone involved, is definitely a simile). Because that’s what Southern Virginia has made me: A fangirl. A fangirl of things literary, historical, theatrical, philosophical. A fangirl of the liberal arts.

    Leaving a writing utensil is a time-honored tradition on Author’s Ridge.

    As the trip continued and we visited Concord, my fangirly heart almost couldn’t take it. We visited the home of Louisa May Alcott, author of “Little Women” and the first book that ever made me cry. We learned that her father was a pal of greats like Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson even supported the Alcotts for years. We saw his house down the road and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s next door (not even kidding), and I took a stroll on the shores of Walden Pond. Finally, I visited Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and “Author’s Ridge,” where Alcott, Thoreau, Emerson, and Hawthorne are buried.

    And the entire time, I kept thanking my lucky stars that I’d taken that American literature class from Professor Cluff my first semester. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have known of my love for Emerson’s essays or been excited to pick up Thoreau’s “October, Or Autumnal Tints” at the bookstore. Nor would I have been so starstruck by Emerson’s study.

    Realizing the way my education has permeated my life made me all the more appreciative for all that Southern Virginia has given me, and all the more excited to find out what another year’s study will do to enrich my little existence. Who knows which literary great I’ll be fangirling next?

    Myself in front of Orchard House, the Alcott’s home.

    (Post and photos by Madeleine Gail Rex ’16.)

  4. Photos: Athletic Summer Camps

    August 17, 2015

    This summer, the university ran several athletics camps, which attracted more than 60 athletes and potential Southern Virginia players each week.

    Coach Josh Patiño, who joined Southern Virginia as head men’s soccer coach in February 2014, said that the men’s soccer camps more than doubled their number of players and he hopes that the polished camp model will lead to only greater experiences next year.

    “The best thing about it is that we want kids on campus and to see what we’re all about,” he said. He added that it’s great to “really get to know the athlete, really get to know the player.”

    And from the sound of it, there was a true melting-pot of different types of players to get to know.

    “I guess the main thing I was looking forward to was the quality of player that came out,” he said. “State cup champions, regional players, [olympic development] players… We’re very diverse.”

    Of course, the camps also provide young athletes with the opportunity to, as Patiño said, “see what [Southern Virginia is] all about.”

    “I hope they, obviously, on the athletics side, really fall in love with the athletic program, with the sport, with the coach, with the current team players — [that] there’s an immediate attraction to our program,” Coach Patiño said, when asked what he hoped the participants got out of the camp experience. “Secondly, I hope they enjoy being on campus and spending time here. I think this is a really special, unique place, and when you’re here on campus, there’s a special feeling that you get. You think, ‘I wanna be here.’”

    (Post by Madeleine Gail Rex ’16. Photos by Jordan Wunderlich ’15, Ethan Davis ’19, and Eva Sorensen ’17.)

  5. Utah Alumni Carnival!

    August 14, 2015

    It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Roughly two years by my calculations. Of course, I can’t math  that’s why I got my degree in English. So maybe don’t put too much stock into those calculations. Look, the point of the story is that it’s been a while, okay? I thought I’d check in and see how Southern Virginia was doing.

    So hey. Hi. Hello. How are you? Good, I hope. Oh, me? I’m fine, thank you. I’ve been doing much better since the Southern Virginia Summer Carnival that was held here in Utah on Aug. 1 at Labrum Park. I’ll admit, I’ve been missing my friends — some of whom are professors like Professors Stoddard, Hufford, and Georgeson the fireflies in the summer, the cicadas, the lush greenery, the Blue Ridge Parkway … Virginia will always have my heart, and home is where the heart is so I was very much homesick. So the opportunity to see fellow Southern Virginia alumni, some of whom I haven’t seen in years (again, if my calculations are to be trusted), was a great reminder of the time I spent at college. It helped with my homesickness.

    The carnival hosted Minute to Win It games, a selection of snacks (watermelon, chips and other traditional summer fare), drinks, and even free snow cones. Labrum Park itself was pretty sweet, too; most of us at some point spent time climbing through the obstacle course playground set.

    It’s been nice catching up, home skillin’ biscuits. Maybe I’ll get a chance to visit campus again before the next meeting of the Southern Virginia University Alumni Utah Chapter.

    (Post by Mika McIntosh ’13. Photos by Aleah Ingram ’11).