The Blog @
Southern Virginia University

Posts with the tag: Academics

  1. Jennifer Babcock on Art, Family and Culture

    February 10, 2016

    Worn finish, missing spindles and patched upholstery tell a story in Jennifer Babcock’s exhibition of paintings titled “No Empty Chairs” currently hanging in the Corridor Gallery.

    A native Virginian, Babcock grew up surrounded by chairs that her father collected and repaired. Over time, the family chairs came to mean more to her than just places to sit. As part of her opening reception last Friday, Babcock explained what these chair “portraits” mean to her. Like an archaeologist finding cultural significance in ancient treasures, these unassuming, mundane objects represent to Babcock the lives and memories of her family. The lovingly captured, colorful canvases act as an abstract family album, portraying the people and stories that give her a deep sense of self.

    Listening to her presentation and viewing her work made me reflect upon my own grandparent’s home and the objects that pervade my childhood memories. My grandfather’s collection of Native American art, my grandmother’s crocheted afghans, and a roll of stamps that always sat in their kitchen window. I think that besides telling her personal story, Babcock’s chairs are meant to remind us of our own roots because in the end, our family memories will be our greatest treasure.

    (Post by Corey Egbert ’15. Photos by Matt Anderson ’17.)


  2. Open House: A Taste of Southern Virginia

    Open houses are a fantastic way to get a taste of what Southern Virginia University has to offer. Students can start their day with a rad breakfast buffet (those blueberry scones. Seriously.) and proceed to get to know some professors in mini classes, explore campus on student-guided tours, eat lunch in our dining hall, and glimpse what it’s like to be a student here at Southern Virginia. Those who are interested can also schedule meetings with coaches, auditions with those heading arts programs, and other such opportunities.

    You’d really be hard-pressed to find a better way to acquaint yourself with this university, especially when you take into consideration the $200 travel voucher provided to prospective students. For more information about upcoming open houses and how you can find yourself at one, check out the open house page.

    You can also read more about previous open house experiences in other blog posts, like this one and this one.

    (Post by Madeleine Gail Rex ’16. Photos by Eva Sorensen Smith ’17.)

  3. The Theory of the Best Local Burger

    February 8, 2016

    Over the summer I was peer-pressured into adding a course to my already full schedule for the coming fall semester. “This was my favorite class at SVU,” my friend said, tagging me in her Facebook post. “It really helped me understand the importance of how people interact with each other; rules, expectations, social obligations, laws and their societies,” she explained. The course, Professor Jeremiah John’s “Classics in Social Theory,” promised exploration of questions I didn’t know I had: why so many rich athletes break the bank, why North Koreans mourning the death of dictator Kim Jong-Il seemed over the top, why taxi drivers trust people more if they don’t talk too much, why people drive on the sidewalk in Delhi but not New York, and what spurred the Pistons and Pacers to have such a historic brawl in 2004.

    The class was far more theoretical than I had anticipated (I should have taken a hint from the title), but our class of 10 engaged constantly in probing and energetic discussion. Among other things, we talked a lot about burgers. I’m not exactly sure how it was so often so relevant, but the quest for that illusory “best burger” aptly illustrated quite a few concepts.

    You may think you know where to buy the best burger, but is your belief rational? In order for a belief to be rational, it must satisfy a specific set of criteria. The search for the best burger must begin with a reasonable investment in information gathering. This investment will be different for each person, depending on your resources and on how important identifying that burger is to you. The evidence gathered then informs beliefs, which don’t have to be true in order to be rational. (Volkswagen customers rationally believed that they were driving low-emission vehicles… but it wasn’t actually true.) Lastly, you have to be able to rank your burger preferences, taking into account how much money you’re willing to spend. Perhaps you like Burger A better than Burger B, but having tomato on it isn’t worth the five extra dollars. Since we all have different preferences, we may all have different, although not incorrect, conclusions.

    With the quest for discovering the best burger frequently on my mind and a penchant for eating out, my fiancé and I started comparing burgers in Buena Vista and Lexington. Together we have come up with a list of what we believe to be the best local burgers, some of which are so economical that you might not run to Cookout the next time you have five dollars and a craving!


    TNT’s Good Ta Go: Economy, location, and a hand-pressed patty on a homemade bun have pushed this Buena Vista locale to the top of the list. They advertise their cuisine as “Homemade without the Hassle,” and I suggest hustling on over to taste it for yourself. For only $4.50 you can get the “TNT Meltdown,” a quarter-pound burger topped with grilled onions, colby jack cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayo on homemade bread. Another $2.50 gets you the “TNT Throwdown,” which is a half-pound burger on a homemade bun, loaded with bacon, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, raw onions, and mayo. They recently moved to 2054 Sycamore Ave., a pleasant stroll from campus.

    Rocca: Located on the second floor of the Robert E. Lee Hotel in Lexington, this burger is a house specialty. Seven ounces of ground angus sirloin is topped with plain or gorgonzola cheese, lettuce, tomato, and roasted garlic aioli and served on a ciabatta roll. It’s normally $12, but swing by on Fridays or Saturdays after 10 p.m. and grab it for just $5! (Rocca has abbreviated hours for the winter and currently closes at 10 p.m. The $5 special will be available when normal hours resume.)

    TAPS: Located in Lexington, this lobby lounge has a great vibe and even better burgers. Made with ingredients local to the Shenandoah Valley, the Buffalo Creek Burger (with a gluten-free option!) is a best seller, thanks to its unique blend of flavors. The delicious bun is topped with bacon-onion jam, bread and butter pickles, and pimento cheese, as well as the burger. It’s served with house cut fries and a dill pickle for $11. The ketchup is a house recipe, and I recommend asking for the roasted garlic aioli with the fries. Located at 11 North Main Street in Lexington.

    Do you have any local favorites that I might have missed? In the name of academic inquiry, I’m willing to do some investigative work! Comment your local favorites below.

    (Post by Lauren Hafen ’16.)

  4. A Senior’s Last First Day of School

    January 22, 2016

    11935214_10206931905523661_3429267697875747304_oAt the beginning of this school year, my roommates and I posed for a “first day of school photo” — just like I did with my little brother for the first seventeen years of my life. Except this time, I posed with the somewhat-goofily written “It’s the beginning of the end.”

    I’m a senior, which means that last week marked my “last first day of school” (at least for the foreseeable future). By this point in life, most of us have experienced enough “lasts” to realize that they induce a bit of a nostalgic, or at least reflective, haze. I’ve gone from class to work to rehearsals every day for the last week, but it’s been with the uncanny awareness that this is the last time my whole life will shift the second week of January, it’s the last time I’ll ever go from class to work to rehearsal, and it’s the last time I’ll experience a semester at Southern Virginia University.

    And of course, partially due to my ingrained tendency toward sentimentality, the nostalgia hit. And it hit hard. I took special notice of all the things I know I’ll miss about the Southern Virginia experience. I love that:

    I go to a university so focused on the “genius of small” that my British literature class of 27 students is large enough to make me do a double-take when I walk into the classroom.

    I pass professors every day on campus who call out to me by name and share inside jokes.

    An on-campus job means that essentially my entire life takes place on this quaint campus of ours.

    I can walk from any classroom to another in less than ten minutes.

    I can’t go anywhere on campus and not find someone I know by name and who knows mine.

    We’re surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are so enchanting that they somehow still maintain some pastoral beauty in January when most of their foliage is dead.

    I can see a church steeple from my office window.

    I can walk into any class during my first week of school and feel like I’m surrounded by people who really know me, professors included.

    I know that I have received just the education I wanted. I learned not only what I needed to know, but what I wanted to know.

    Southern Virginia really has captured the genius of small, but it’s also captured the beauty of history, the virtue of the liberal arts, the importance of individuals, and the power of connections. As this semester starts, and I’m sure I’ll feel this just as strongly as it comes to a close in May, I feel all the more certain that I made the right choice three years ago to leap across the country and choose Southern Virginia as the map for my college adventure.

    (Post by Madeleine Gail Rex ’16.)

  5. The Southern Virginia Open House Experience

    December 5, 2015

    Last month, Southern Virginia University hosted its second largest open house of all time. 154 prospective students and their families, making grand total of 325 guests, arrived on campus as early as 9:00 a.m. to participate in a full-blown Southern Virginia experience. As per usual, the students were greeted in the Stoddard Center to join student guides, professors and many of the school’s administrators for a breakfast of hor d’oeuvres provided by our hard-working kitchen staff. Visitors used this time to meet representatives from each department and get acquainted with the programs offered by the university.

    Afterward, the students got a taste of student life by taking two mini classes of their choice, taught by some of our fine professors. Following the mini classes and lunch at the cafeteria or Jonzzey’s cafe, the tour guides lead the students and their families around campus, highlighting the buildings and their significance. During this time, families interacted with staff, faculty and students and were able to have any final questions they had answered.

    Prospective students interested in arts or athletics were then dismissed to join their respective team, or to hurry off to audition for a spot in the choir or orchestra. Others visited the bookstore, checked out The Fields, met with an admissions counselor or just wandered around to get a feel of the campus.

    An open house experience at Southern Virginia is unique to the individual and we invite all who are interested to come and see what we have to offer. High school juniors and seniors can receive a reimbursement of up to $250 to cover the costs of traveling.  For more information, visit the open house webpage. 

    (Post by Deseret Brown ’16. Photos by Eva Sorensen ’17.)