Thornton’s Academic Center of Excellence

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If you have attended a University of Louisville sporting event in the last year you have seen the commercials flashing across the screen. Also, if you went to fill up your gas tank at any of the Louisville Thornton’s location then you were asked to donate money after swiping your credit card. Now, with the donations made totaling $14.5 million starting with the initial $3 million donation from Thornton’s, the construction of the Thornton’s Academic Center of Excellence is underway.

The Thornton’s Academic Center of Excellence is a new state of the art center for student athletes that is set to open fall 2016 at the University of Louisville. According to Kenneth Klein, Associate Athletic Director for Student Services and Diversity, the new center will house all academic operations and provide a central location for student athletes and academic staff. The center will serve as a resource for all student athletes to help them excel within the classroom.

The 40,000-square-foot building will include many features to help further the academic success of the University of Louisville’s student athletes. These features will include tutorial areas, a high-performance training table that will feed the student athletes, computer laboratories, and office/classroom space. These spaces will be used daily to service the more than 750 student athletes that currently attend the university and span across the Cardinals’ 23 sports.

Academic advising and other resources for student athletes are currently spread around multiple buildings on campus. The lacrosse, baseball, and volleyball meet at the Little Yum! Center located on Floyd Street while the rowing, swimming and softball athletes meet in the Student Activities Center (SAC). According to Rachel Overton an Academic Advisor for Student Athletes, there is no space on campus large enough to house the more than 750 athletes in a single location. For the entirety of the student athletes to meet in one location the athletic department must rent a space large enough to house them all. The new center will offer a large meeting space that will provide ample room to meet with all student athletes in a single location.

The advantages to housing all of the student athletes in one location is that the athletic department can host more events such as inviting outside speakers, leadership training, talks about social media and student conduct and most notably the Louie Awards. These awards are important because they recognize student athletes who have exhibited outstanding performance on and off the field including leadership, community service and best breakout performance of the year.

Many students have expressed concerns that the new center’s location makes it inconvenient for students. Along with being located at the intersection of Central and Floyd Street the access roads to Papa John’s Stadium cross multiple train tracks. Students are concerned that the location of the center will make it difficult for students to arrive at the center on time and also to be able to return to campus in a timely fashion.

Overton suggested that the university could help address the problems being voiced by student athletes by bringing back the old Black Line for the TARC route. This route would simply travel between the SAC and Papa John’s Stadium with one stop at the natatorium in between. This would offer a quick and easy journey between the two locations. This would be a substantial improvement from the current TARC route which travels in a circle around the entire Belknap campus. However, only time will tell what challenges might arise when the center is up and running.

Marvin Mitchell, Senior Associate Athletic Director for Student Services and Diversity, also noted that the university will be offering designated parking for specific sports teams. That way student athletes who are visiting the center will have a designated parking area and will not have to worry about searching for a spot in the current purple parking.

While the Thornton’s Center will only be accessible to current University of Louisville student athletes, the general student population should not fret. The university is currently in discussions about a new student academic center that would be open to all students that is set to open in 2018. This new center would do similar things as the Thornton’s center by bringing all advising and academic resources to one accessible location for the student body.

Overall, the convenience and resources available at the Thorton’s Academic Center of Excellence will make it a great tool for improving both the social and academic lives of current students. It will also serve as a potential recruiting tool to place the university on par with other ACC schools. Students should be excited to see the completion and implementation of the academic center coming fall 2016.

 

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The Newbies Guide to Black Friday Shopping

Every year at Black Friday I stand back and watch. Any person who is fairly versed in the Black Friday festivities can pick out a newbie quite easily. So, to help with the confusion I have compiled my list of suggestions to make Black Friday run just a little smoother.

 

1. DONT get a shopping cart

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There is nothing worse than trying to maneuver your way through the aisles behind a newbie pushing a buggy like they’re following a hearse. Just go without it. I don’t care what you’re trying to buy. You’ll get there a lot faster if you just leave that cart at the door.
2. Bring backups

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Don’t ever go it alone. When you’re standing in line for your 55″ tv, no one is going to let you hop out of line to grab that sale across the aisle that you didn’t see. So, bring friends (place holders) and go to town.
3. Sign up for Netflix

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Sitting in line for hours takes a toll on everyone. So to pass the time, I recommend storing up your cell phone data for the month and streaming Netflix. It’s a great time to catch up on House of Cards or binge watch Friends. Trust me, those hours will go by a lot faster.
4. Wear tennis shoes

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Every year there is a group of women who show up to Black Friday like it’s the academy awards. Your platform heels and stiletto boots might be cute for a night out honey but my tennis shoes and I will wave goodbye when we walk out the door with our new Xbox.
5. Deodorant, Deodorant, Deodorant

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Maybe this is just me because I live in Redneck USA, but people crawl out of the sticks for Black Friday. I’m talking these people haven’t bathed since the river got cold. So, to save your nose from torture I recommend strong deodorant or perfume.
6. Drive a large vehicle (truck or SUV preferred)

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I don’t care if you’re only going to get a $10 Tupperware set. When you arrive with 5 people in a small sedan and someone decides that the 14ft trampoline is just too good of a deal to pass up, you don’t want to be standing in the parking lot trying to figure out if you can drive home with the doors open. Believe me, it happens.

 

At the end of the day Black Friday is a great time to get all of the deals you need for the Christmas holiday. But, it can also be a danger to your health. So, if you don’t think you can follow all of the rules I have laid out for you then I have another one.

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7. STAY HOME

And just wait for Cyber Monday.

The Truth About Terrorists…

So I started writing this post before everything that happened in Paris, France. I debated not posting it at all. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized how important it is to set the record straight about some of the misconceptions that the American public (and probably other countries too) have about terrorists. 

  
As I was completing my morning rituals by listening to NPR this week on my way to school I noticed the discussion was about the current Syrian Refugee crisis. A caller asked the question, “how do we know that these people aren’t terrorists?”  

Now, I don’t blame the commentator for the answer because it’s the same one I’ve heard time and time again. He said something along the lines of, ” most of these men are highly educated from upper class families. Therefore, we can be assured they are not terrorists.”

Somehow we have gotten it into our heads that terrorists are these extremely poor, uneducated men with nothing better to do with their lives. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.

  
In Education, Poverty, and Terrorism… Krueger discussed the causal links behind economic opportunity, education and terrorism. What he found was that most terrorists, even suicide bombers, come from the upper class of society. Most of them are extremely educated.

“Instead of viewing terrorism as a direct response to low market opportunities or ignorance, we suggest it is more accurately viewed as a response to political conditions and long-standing feelings (either perceived or real) of indignity and frustration that have little to do with economics.” (Krueger)

These are people who could be doctors, lawyers, anything they want. Instead, they feel that the best way to improve their society is through terrorism. 

If you really think about it, it begins to make sense. These are people who are educated enough to see the problems facing their society. They are coming from countries that do not offer the same opportunities to voice their grievances. And, they have the economic means to do something about it. 

 

Now, I’m not saying that every refugee is a terrorist or that all borders should be closed to them. But, what I am saying is that we need to have a better understanding of the demographics behind terrorists. The media has been giving us this false sense of security about refugees and it is a lie whether blatant or not.

All I want is for the American people to be able to make informed decisions for themselves and that starts with the truth: TERRORISTS ARE NOT UNEDUCATED OR POOR!

I can’t be black and a republican?

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Alright everyone, I’m about to jump on my soap box for one post. So, if you’d like the remain innocent here is your chance to leave the page.

Ready…

3…

2…

1…

ok, now it’s your own fault.

So, in regard to our new lieutenant governor someone had the nerve to say “skin folks ain’t kin folks” and that because she was a member of the tea party she had “alienated” herself from the black community.

In other words, because her political views did not line up with the liberal agenda Hampton is somehow not a true black woman.

Now, I just want to point out that if these same comments had come from the mouth of a republican they would have automatically been labeled a racist. But somehow, since a liberal said it then it must be ok.

I have heard very similar comments being made about Ben Carson in regards to being a black republican running for president. Also that Carly Fiorina is somehow not a true woman because she doesn’t stand on the liberal side of “woman’s issues”.image image

I’m pretty sure that minorities and women fought for the right to make decisions for themselves. Not for some agenda to label them as “not a black person” or “not a real woman” because they don’t conform to some set of beliefs.

Honestly, for Liberals to be so “inclusive” they seem to be the least tolerant. They’re all for freedom of speech as long as it supports their speech. All for freedom of opinions as long as it’s their opinion. To be a tolerant party, I see no tolerance when it comes to anyone that differs from their own opinion.

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When President Obama ran for office people were more than willing to vote him into office because he filled the token black person card. Now, Hillary is running for president with the idea of being the first “woman president”.

When I go to the polls to vote, it won’t be based on the color of someone’s skin. It won’t be based on their gender. It won’t be some last-ditch effort to prove that I and my party aren’t racist or sexist. I’m going to vote for the person that I believe can make this country the country that it should be. Brown, white, man woman or other. Heck I’ll even vote for a democrat. But what I won’t do, is vote for someone because I have been pressured into believing that my vote somehow makes me less of a black person or less of a woman.

And I guess the liberals who don’t agree can just stick that in their juice box and suck it.

You Should Always Hug a Band Kid.

So last week I came across this post online:


I was automatically struck by how true it is. Very few people outside of the band family truly understand how different band is from every other SPORT out there. And it is a sport.

These kids spend more time outside in the elements than any other sport that I’ve seen. They work long hours with blood, sweat, and tears only to have people head to the concession stand instead of noticing the half-time entertainment for the football team.

The band family is like no other. Only those who have experienced the work that it takes or who have watched their children gift off exhaustion can truly understand what it means to be a member of the marching band.

The band season is not like any other sport. Unlike basketball or football, you don’t make it to the tournament based off a whole season of playing. Instead, you have one 15 minute performance that decides if your season ends then and there.

15 minutes. Hours of practice. Tears shed. All for one 15 minute shot at a championship. And not everyone can be a champion. Sometimes the smallest mistake keeps you from making it to state. Sometimes your day of victory is ransacked by rain storms or blizzards (I’ve seen it all). But the show must go on.

At the end of the day, all any band kid is fighting for is just 15 more minutes. Out of all the bands that fight toward the end, only four from each class get to see their season end on the state finals field. Only 20 bands get to experience that final 15 minutes with the people who have become their family.

Even if you’re lucky enough to make it to that last performance, the end will come. You’ll walk away with your trophy and always look back on those 15 minutes when time stood still.

So, when you drive past the practice field at 8am and see the kids working so hard. When your own child comes home crying from the stress and exhaustion. Just smile and give them a hug because you know that their 15 minutes is coming up soon.

 

 

 

 

No She’s Not Mine…

  
Every time I take her out of the house the bombardment of questions begins. 

“Oh I didn’t know you had a baby.”

 “Oh wow, when did you have a kid? She’s so cute.”

I always seem to find myself answering the same way, “oh, she’s not mine.”

I then roll into the story of how Karlee got into our lives. I joke about my reaction and how funny it all is looking back. And usually it ends with some joke like “I didn’t screw up this time.”

  
The more I think about my response, the more it bothers me. It upsets me that my first defense is to justify the actions of my family and my little sisters existence to a stranger. 

NO ONE MADE A MISTAKE! Adding Karlee to our family was one of the greatest things that has ever happened to us.

She made us a family again. She gave us all a common goal and forced us to bond together and work together. She reminds us all to smile and laugh. She is the sunshine of all of our lives and she gives us a reason to wake up every morning. 

  

This little girl loves me no matter what. If I’m gone for 20 minutes or 2 weeks she welcomes me back with open arms. Anytime I pull up to the house there is a little hand and face pressed against the glass waiting for me. 

She might be my sister, but she is as much mine as any child I could ever have for myself. I worry about her like she was my own, I miss her like she was my own, and I love her like she’s my own. Nothing in the world could ever change that. 

  
Sometimes I wish people would stop asking questions.

 “Isn’t it weird having such an age difference?” 

Yeah, it is. But you know what would be weirder to me? Never having her in my life. 

I think back on when I found out that she was going to be born and I was devastated. I thought my life as I knew it was over. And I was right.

Now, I love my other sister. But, a four year age gap does not give you the insight to appreciate the younger version of you that’s following you around.

But for Karlee, her older sisters hang the moon. We’ll be there when she starts kindergarten, when she goes on her first date.

And when she finally walks across the stage at her high school graduation I’ll be there clapping and saying,

“Yeah, she’s mine.”

  

Things your professor shouldn’t say on the first day of class…

We all walk into class on the first day hoping we got the cool professor. But, everyone knows if you hear these words on the first day you’re in for a rough year.

1. You have a group project

There are two types of people in the world: The slacker and The over achiever.

If you’re the slacker, there is nothing more exciting that the prospects of an easy grade with a group project.

If you’re the overachieve, the idea of a group project makes you cringe. There is nothing worse that being teamed up with a bunch of freeloaders.

Either way, everyone immediately starts looking and the room to create the perfect A team and everyone starts judging the professor when they assign a group project on the first day.

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2. I take attendance

Dear Professors,

You get paid the same amount of money whether I’m in class or not. Why do you care about my attendance? It’s my grade and my tuition money. If I can easily pass a class without having to be there everyday, who cares? Making me sit through a lecture and expecting me to participate when I don’t want to be there is not going to happen.


3. You have to buy the book

Now, if the professor actually uses the textbook then that’s ok. But, what I hate is when I spend $200 on a book that they never reference in class or put on the test. Sometimes I question if professors know the difference in required and recommended.

4. No food in class

Have you seen the lines in the SAC? It’s all I can do to order food and get to class in time. The least you can do as a professor is let me enjoy my chcicken nuggets in peace. As long as I’m not crunching my food so loud that it sounds like an elephant eating, what’s the problem??

5. No electronics

This is 2015! Everyone uses a laptop. I see no reason why I can’t type my notes and be done 10x’s sooner than if you make me hand write them. No amount of research In the world is going to convince me that I learn better by writing it by hand.

The only thing I’m learning is how to short hand everything to the point that I don’t know what it says later.