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If you’re a Georgia native, you know that sometimes the weather here can be unpredictable. Sometimes it’s 75 degrees in February. As we start moving towards spring, and the weather warms up, you may be looking to get some fresh air.
Here are five places in Macon to get outdoors, whether you are crushing your New Year’s fitness resolutions or feeling cooped up from the cold weather. All of these parks are entirely free to the public, so you don’t have an excuse for not getting outside.
Amerson River Park
Amerson River Park has seven miles of hiking, biking and walking trails and great views of the Ocmulgee River, according to maconga.org. There are also covered areas if you want to get your friends together and have a picnic. The park is located only 10 minutes from Mercer’s campus and is open every day from 7:30 a.m. until 8 p.m.
Ocmulgee National Monument
Ocmulgee National Monument is known for its Ocmulgee Indian Celebration held every fall. However, the park also has six miles of trails for hiking and biking, according to nps.org. Go for a walk and check out the Indian mounds while you are there. The monument is located only 10 minutes from Mercer and is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Wesleyan College Arboretum
The Arboretum at Wesleyan was created in 1996 as an ecological study area, wildlife refuge and recreational land for the college, according to wesleyancollege.edu. Located 15 minutes from Mercer, the arboretum has three miles of walking trails. The trails are open to visitors every day from sunrise to sunset.
Charles H Jones Gateway Park
The Gateway Park is one of the parks along the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail, according to macon365.com. Walk along the trail and see beautiful views of the Ocmulgee River. While you’re there, don’t forget to get a picture with the Otis Redding statue! The park is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day and is 10 minutes from campus.
Tattnall Square Park
Last, but definitely not least, is Tattnall Square Park. If you want to get outside, but only have a short amount of time, cross the street and take advantage of this park! Walk through the middle to see the fountain, or bring a soccer ball and play a pickup game on the field. Be sure to keep up with the park’s Facebook page where they post special events.
This spring, take advantage of all the free places to get out and enjoy nature in Macon. It will relieve stress, and get you excited for the warmer months ahead.
Over the summer, some Mercer students participated in many different internships, study abroad programs and research fellowships. Here are a few who represented the Mercer family by working all over the world.
Joshua Dupaty - Research at Eastern Carolina University
Joshua Dupaty participated in a National Science Foundation funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU). The program he specialized in was for biomedical engineering students with a focus in simulations, imaging and modeling.
“They are highly competitive programs so just participating in one was a really cool and fulfilling experience,” Dupaty said.
The project Dupaty worked on was called ‘Detection of Skin Hydration Levels Using Novel Air Puff Device’ and he worked under the direction of Dr. Jason Yao.
Stephen Galloway - Internship with Congressional Black Caucus in Washington D.C.
Galloway was a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Congressional intern and worked with Congresswoman Frederica Wilson out of Florida.
Galloway said he performed a variety of tasks including answering constituent phone calls, organizing the Congresswoman's binder and attending numerous meetings, hearings and briefings.
“Overall, it was a wonderful experience, and I was thankful for the opportunity to be in
Where in the world did bears go this summer?
D.C for the summer,” Galloway said.
Alicia Mikowski - Marketing and Events Intern for the City of Centerville
Mikowski worked on planning and executing events in Center Park in Centerville, including food truck Fridays, farmer market days and goat yoga.
Mikowski said she also helped in organizing larger events like the city's Independence Day celebration which had 3,000 attendees. For the Independence Day celebration, she wrote and recorded a radio ad.
She also managed social media for Center Park, including making regular Facebook and Instagram posts, replying to inquiries made by citizens and creating Snapchat filters for the events.
“This has been a very rewarding internship, and I have loved working with the city of Centerville,” Mikowski said.
Shakti Biswas - Study Abroad in Seville, Spain
Shakti Biswas studied abroad in Seville, Spain where he took a medical Spanish class and visited a Spanish hospital.
Biswas said he stayed with a host family while in Spain, and he went on excursions to different cities like Cordoba (where the picture was taken), Toledo and Barcelona.
Maddie Curtis - Internship at GEICO
This summer, Maddie Curtis had the opportunity to work as an intern at GEICO through their Business Leadership Development Program in Macon.
As an intern, Curtis said she worked with other interns to tackle opportunities the company had to improve in certain areas and they presented their recommendations to upper management.
They also planned community service events in Macon, interacted with managers in all of the departments (sales, service, claims and auto damage) and had a WebEx leadership session with the CEO Bill Roberts.
Curtis said they spent a lot of time practicing for the presentations, but also had time for outings such as an escape room, bowling, origami and dinner at Piedmont Brewery.
Brittany Tran - Mercer on Mission Vietnam
Brittany Tran fit and built prosthetics designed at Mercer University for amputees in Vietnam who lost their limbs from unexploded landmines from the Vietnam War.
Tran said that the team triaged patients, fit orthotic braces for children with disabilities, taught and trained patients to walk with their prosthetic devices, provided help with physical therapy for patients’ rehabilitation and more.
“The greatest result was seeing disabled patients walk out of the clinic. I went there to help give people their lives back, but I left with my life changed,” Tran said.
Charlotte Dungan - Research at Stanford University
Charlotte Dungan interned at Stanford University for nine weeks through a program called ReNUWIt or Reinventing the Nation's Urban Water Infrastructure.
Dungan said they used engineering principles to improve the management of urban water.
The Georgia Beef Board is hosting Macon Burger Week Aug. 20-26 with specials at restaurants across Macon.
In total, 15 restaurants will create a special burger and sell it for $5 during the week, according to Katylyn Malia, director of industry information and public relations for the Georgia Beef Board.
Customers can print out a passport from the event’s website, pick one up at a participating restaurant or cut one out of the 11th Hour newsletter. Passport holders can collect stamps by visiting each location that is participating.
The special burgers will be available at each restaurant during their regular business hours throughout the week. In addition to the burgers, there will be free t-shirts, prizes and drawings.
Participating restaurants include: Bearfoot Tavern, El Camino, Fatty’s Pizza, Felicia’s Cake Factory, FOJ an Eatery, Greek Corner Pizza, Grey Goose Player’s Club, Growler USA, H&H Restaurant, Ocmulgee Brewpub, Parish on Cherry, The Rookery, Spud Dogs, Steve’s Steak and Seafood and Tommy’s Bakery and Cafe.
Malia said the Georgia Beef Board has hosted this event for three years in Atlanta and Savannah, and this is the first time they are bringing it to Macon.
After shots were fired in Mercer Village on a Wednesday night in January, it took about 45 minutes for Mercer students to receive an emergency alert via text message about the threat.
Many students and parents took to social media to raise concerns about the delay in getting an emergency alert out.
“Honestly this should serve as a wake up call. Mercer’s emergency responses are dramatically outdated and the University is unprepared for an emergency situation. It’s time to fix this,” said Christopher Kennedy in a Facebook comment to the first report The Cluster posted about the situation, which can be read here.
The day after the incident occured, Mercer University President William Underwood sent an email to students telling them that the school’s emergency alert system was going to be reviewed by an outside company.
Senior Vice President for Marketing Communications and Chief of Staff, Larry Brumley, also confirmed that two consultants reviewed the system and found that there were no technical issues with the emergency alert system.
“The decision tree was too complicated, and we've simplified the decision tree to get those alerts out faster,” Brumley said. “The president's goal is to get alerts out within three minutes of getting a verified report of a threat.”
The consultants, Brumley said, helped Mercer streamline the decision process in sending out alerts and the Mercer Police department is increasing the training their officers get in sending out alerts.
Now, once the department has received word of a possible threat on or adjacent to campus, an officer will respond and verify whether it is legitimate. If they believe it is, officers will contact the dispatcher who will send an alert via Mercer’s alert system, Brumley said.
On Jan. 14, four days after the Mercer Village incident, there was an armed robbery just off Mercer’s campus in Tattnall Square Park. Even though the incident did not involve anyone related to Mercer University, an emergency alert was sent out at 1:08 p.m. after the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office reported the incident took place at 12:49 p.m.
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The FBI Uniform Crime Report has not reported the violent crimes on college campuses for 2017 yet, but they listed Mercer as having four violent crimes in 2016 and two violent crimes in 2015. The FBI defines violent crimes as “those offenses which involve force or threat of force.”
All Macon undergraduate students, faculty and staff are on the emergency alert system which sends out a text if there is a verified threat. However, students do have the option of being taken off. Brumley believes that only six students on the Macon campus have opted out of the alerts.
The administration is now working on ways to alert parents when these kinds of incidents occur. Currently, if parents want to sign up, they have to send an email to the Help Desk at mercer.edu, providing their name, cell phone number, the name of their cell carrier and their child’s student ID number. The Help Desk will then manually enroll them into the system.
However, Mercer is planning on making it easier for parents to sign up for text alerts.
“Beginning next fall we'll have a means where parents can go onto a website and enroll themselves in it,” Brumley said.
Mercer Police Chief Gary Collins said the university works with his department and the student body to regularly check in on the campus’ safety measures. The walk is mainly about checking the blue emergency lights around campus that students can use to call MerPo in an urgent situation.
“We do a safety walk every semester with SGA, physical plant, vice president of student affairs and myself, and we go around and check and make sure that all of (the blue emergency lights) are working,” he said.
Another way the department is ramping up its security is by implementing a radio system in which they can directly contact the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office, Collins said.
“That's very important,” he said. “If they're our back up (and) they come, they'll know what's going on right then.”
Spring is one of the most beautiful times of the year, partly due to all the plants that begin blooming. If you love plants but feel like they are hard to grow in your room, there are some plants out there that can thrive indoors. Here is a list of some of the best plants to grow in a dorm room so that you can experience spring all year long.
There are many different types of succulents, but most will succeed when grown indoors. Succulents thrive in warm, dry climates and with a decent amount of light. Better Homes and Gardens said that succulents can even adapt between direct sunlight and lower light. You can buy a small succulent at stores like WalMart or Lowes for just a few dollars.
Like succulents, cacti are great to grow indoors, and they are a little easier to maintain than succulents. They like warmth and sunshine, and they don’t need that much water. In fact, The Spruce said that one of the most common problems with maintaining cacti indoors is overwatering. Also like succulents, they are sold at many home improvement stores for a low price.
This plant also grows well indoors, and it can be used to help heal cuts and burns. Aloe Vera plants should be maintained similarly to cacti and succulents. However, the Farmer’s Almanac said that they need to be in a well-draining pot or they can rot. Home Depot sells Aloe plants for around $11.
According to Backyard Boss, the plant can also be used as everything from a makeup remover to a homemade hand sanitizer. Who knew? Check out more of their ideas below.
An orchid is a beautiful plant to grow indoors, but it can be somewhat difficult to take care of. So, if you have a green thumb, this is a great plant for you. There are many different types of orchids, but the American Orchid Society said the moth orchid is the best one for growing at home. They also give lots of advice on how to grow and maintain an orchid for those who haven’t before.
This is a great plant to grow if you are short on desk or counter space but still would like some greenery. Websites like Amazon sell pots that you can hang or mount from the wall. Also, English Ivy is perfect for rooms that don’t get a lot of sunlight. The Spruce said that English Ivy should grow in areas that are partly or fully shaded.
Before you purchase any of these plants, make sure to read up further on them so you know how they should be planted and watered. Good luck and happy indoor gardening!
Spring break can be so memorable for college students if they have the chance to travel with their friends. However, for most, trying to go on a great trip on a college budget poses a big problem.
These are three cheaper trip ideas that are on a college budget and super fun! One thing to keep in mind while planning a trip is the more people that go, the less expensive the gas and lodging will be.
St. Simon’s Island
Located off the coast of Georgia, St. Simons Island is a small island town that makes for a relaxing beach trip. Lodging is fairly cheap, and you can get an Airbnb starting at just $39 a night.
The Island has great activities, even if it is not warm enough to go to the beach. Jekyll Island is a short trip from St. Simons, and they are home to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. This rehabilitation center for turtles gives you an inside look in how pollution can hurt their ecosystem. It is only $8 to take a tour, and Jekyll Island has great shopping and restaurants. Just keep in mind you have to pay a small fee to get on the island.
If it is too cold to go to the beach, you can still enjoy being near the ocean! Ocean Motion Surf Co. rents bikes right near the beach, and you can rent one up to 4 hours for just $15. This would be a warmer way to experience the beach if the water is too cold.
Asheville is a beautiful city in North Carolina that has a classic mountain town feel with tons of shopping and activities. You can get a hotel room in Asheville starting at $79 from Booking.com.
Asheville is known for being home to the beautiful and unique Biltmore House. This house is a must-see destination for a vacation in North Carolina with tours starting at $22 per person. You can also visit the beautiful gardens that the Biltmore House has made famous.
If you enjoy outdoor activities, the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area has great trails and breathtaking views. This would be an especially frugal activity if you are on a tight budget. Even if you aren’t a hiker, the Blue Ridge Parkway is gorgeous to drive along and see the views.
The classic country music city is Nashville, Tennessee. The city is filled with art, music and great food. This would be the perfect spring break destination for country music lovers. You can stay in an Airbnb with six beds starting at $97 per night.
A must see destination in Nashville is the Grand Ole Opry. The tour is a little on the pricier side at $27 per person. However, the Opry gives an inside look at the country music greats and how they landed their careers.
A fun free activity would be to visit the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge in downtown Nashville. You can walk along the bridge and look at the river and the city. Also, this is a popular destination to take pictures in Nashville if you are into photography.
All of these trips would make your spring break amazing, and they won’t break the bank. Get a bunch of your friends together and have fun exploring a new place!
It is officially the Christmas season, which means it is time to decorate! Since a good bit of the holiday season for students is spent away from home, you can decorate your room instead. A lot of Christmas decor is easy to make and affordable. These decorating ideas will make your dorm feel festive while making sure that Residence Life won’t fine you for anything.
Decorate your door
An easy, and safe way to decorate for Christmas is to decorate your dorm or apartment door. You can buy large sheets of paper at stores like Michael’s or Hobby Lobby to cover your door. You can turn your door into a present, a Christmas tree or any other festive design. If you don’t have the time or money to do that you can always buy a simple wreath to hang on your door.
Hang up Christmas lights
Christmas lights are allowed in dorm rooms as long as you don’t use extension cords with them. At this time of year, stores like Walmart, Lowe’s or Home Depot will have several types of Christmas lights for decent prices. You can choose ones with colors or classic white ones. You also don’t have to take them down after the holidays if you want some ambiance for your room.
Get a small Christmas tree
It is not explicitly stated, but I am sure Res Life does not want students putting five foot Christmas trees in dorm rooms. Instead, you can purchase a miniature tree. Target and Walmart sell little ones that already come with Christmas lights on them. They also have different colors to choose from like silver and pink.
Get a Frasier fir air freshener
Even though you can’t have candles, plug-ins, Scentsy pots or wax melters doesn’t mean your room can’t smell like Christmas. You can get gel air fresheners that are dorm friendly and make your room smell like a Christmas tree at most grocery stores, and they are pretty inexpensive.
Make a gingerbread house
You can bond with your roommate and decorate your room by building a gingerbread house. Gingerbread houses are so fun to make and building one seems like a good distraction from stressing about finals. Once you’ve made it, it makes a cute decoration for your room. Just make sure you throw it away before you leave for Christmas break.
These decorating ideas should help you get in the holiday spirit, without getting in trouble. Make sure you take some time off from studying to enjoy the holiday season before it is over.
There are two dreaded words every college student hates to hear: finals week. At the beginning of December, no one wants to be studying and writing papers. All students can think about is being at home, drinking hot chocolate and watching Christmas movies. Here are a few tips and tricks that can hopefully make finals week a little less dreadful than it already is.
Visit the ARC
The Academic Resource Center is open during finals week! They have study rooms and tutors that can help you out if the library is too crowded. For first-year students, the ARC will be presenting a workshop focused on finals week preparation at the First-Year Friday on Dec. 1. This would be a good time for first-year students to get advice about taking their first round of college finals.
Study in groups
Sometimes studying with people who are in your classes can help, especially if you are struggling with something. Having someone else explain a concept can help you study better. However, make sure that you are not easily distracted. If you find yourself losing focus, it may be better to find a study room by yourself so that you can get some serious studying done.
Go to office hours
If you are struggling with a concept for one of your finals, one of the best things you can do is go to your professor’s office hours. Even if you have a small question, meeting with your professor can help you clarify concepts you need for your final exams. Even if you are just working on a final paper and want confirmation that you are heading in the right direction with your idea, your professors should be happy to help.
Try to get ahead
Trying to get ahead for finals week can be difficult, especially when we are just getting back from Thanksgiving. However, trying to get started earlier on studying for big tests or writing final papers can help you in the long run. Start reviewing for your hardest finals for 15-20 minutes a day. If you have several exams and one or two papers, try to go ahead and get the papers out of the way so that you can focus on your exams. Even if you don’t have time to get super far ahead, every little bit helps.
Finals week can be extremely stressful and overwhelming, but hopefully, these tips will help you do your best and be sure that you make time to take care of yourself during finals too. Get as much sleep as you can, and take time for yourself when you need it. While grades are important, your health and well-being should always come first.
At this point in the semester, all college students are looking forward to Thanksgiving break. It is the perfect reprieve from a stressful semester before finals season. But, if you just can’t wait for Thanksgiving any longer, throw a dorm room Friendsgiving. These easy residence hall friendly recipes are perfect for getting you into the holiday spirit.
5 Minute Million Dollar Dip
5 green onions, chopped
8 oz of shredded cheddar cheese
1 ½ cups mayonnaise
½ cup bacon bits
½ cup slivered almonds
Add the green onions, cheese, mayonnaise, bacon and almonds into a small bowl. Mix until combined and let chill for two hours.
Serve with your favorite type of crackers.
Pumpkin Pie Dip
15 oz. can of pumpkin puree
8 oz. container of Cool Whip
1 package (1.5 oz.) Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (optional)
Mix all the ingredients together until combined.
Let chill in the fridge until ready to serve.
Serve with vanilla wafers, graham crackers or cookies.
Thanksgiving Turkey Cookies
Candy googly eyes (can substitute with frosting)
Pumpkin spice morsels (can substitute with frosting)
Black or Brown cookie icing
Take 4-5 pieces of candy corn and carefully push into the icing between the Oreo cookies.
Use the black or brown icing to place the beak and eyes on the Oreo.
Unfortunately, it is getting to that point in the semester where everyone starts getting sick. With the weather getting colder, and students becoming more stressed with approaching finals, it seems like getting sick is inevitable.
Here are a few tips to help you stay healthy during cold and flu season so that you can finish the semester strong.
Take Vitamin C
Taking vitamin C every day can help support your immune system and prevent from catching a cold. There are several different ways you can take this whether it be in a multivitamin or by taking vitamin C capsules. If you’d rather not swallow any pills, drinking orange juice or taking Emergen-C can help you recover faster.
Wash Your Hands
I feel like this should go without saying, but it is super important to wash your hands during cold season. Especially wash your hands before you eat or after being around others who may be sick. If you can’t always physically wash your hands, carry hand sanitizer in your backpack for a quick way to kill germs.
Staying hydrated is another way you can help your body fight illness. Even if you do end up getting a cold, drinking a lot of water will help you get over it quicker. It will also help your throat if allergies or cold symptoms start making it burn.
Eating healthy can be hard for college students, especially with Chick-Fil-A and Panda Express being an easy meal option. However, every once in a while, try choosing something a little healthier. You could get a grilled chicken wrap from Chick-Fil-A or go to the Farmer’s Market and get a fresh salad and some fruit. Whatever choice you make, eating vegetables and fruits will curb your chances of catching a cold.
Get A Good Night’s Sleep
I know that it is really difficult for students to get a good night’s sleep in college, especially towards the end of the semester when it feels like you are drowning in a pile of assignments. However, this may be the most important thing you can do to avoid getting sick. Try to get as much sleep as you can during the week, even if it means making time during the day for a quick nap. If you have a rough week and get very little sleep, try to make up for those hours by resting a lot on the weekend.
If you happen to get sick, try to stay away from people as much as possible and get plenty of rest. Hopefully, these tips will help you have a happy and healthy end of the fall semester!
Mercer will soon host an event that they have never done before.
The Summit will take place on Oct. 26 with a theme of “Transforming Good Intentions into Good Practices.”
Professor Lisa Vu said the idea to host the summit came up because of the many new development-oriented programs at Mercer. Some of these programs include Engineering for Development and Global Development Studies.
The Development Summit was created to explain to Mercer students and faculty what development focused studies and work entails, Vu said.
“Another purpose of the Summit is to highlight the service-oriented projects that exist at Mercer for knowledge-sharing and possible future collaborations,” Vu said.
One of these projects is Z Beans Coffee, a company started by senior Shane Buerster that supports the economy of Ecuador by providing jobs to produce coffee.
“Z Beans Coffee not only seeks to provide American consumers with incredible coffee, but Z Beans hopes to link many unemployed miners with a job, farmers with a market to finally prosper, and a way for everyone in the El Oro region of Ecuador to smile,” said Buerster. “This project is bigger than me; it’s bigger than you; it’s bigger than coffee. I’m excited to share this deeply rooted passion with like-minded individuals.”
The theme for the summit, “Transforming Good Intentions into Good Practices,” was inspired by the Mercer motto, “Everyone majors in changing the world.”
Vu said she created the theme to acknowledge the good intentions that Mercer has in supporting communities.
The aim of the summit is to take these intentions and have conversations that promote good practices as Mercer students and faculty work in communities locally and around the world.
The Summit will have three keynote speakers, all of which are Mercer alumni.
One of the speakers will be Branden Ryan, who graduated in 2013. He served with the Peace Corps for four years in Tanzania.
Another speaker will be Trent White, who graduated in 2012 with a customized degree in International Health and Development. White is currently the Health Systems Advisor for USAID’s Bureau for Global Health.
The third speaker will be Sundra Woodford who is serving as the Community Relations Manager at Habitat for Humanity in Macon.
Vu expressed that students are not only encouraged to attend the conference to learn about the topics being presented, but also to have the experience of attending an academic conference.
“I hope that attendees will gain useful knowledge about the field of development, as well as the development track at Mercer,” senior Global Health Studies major Marina Mixon said. “It really is such an influential field, especially in our world today, so getting more students involved and aware that this is a potential study path is really important.”
The event will take place in Willingham from 4 -8 p.m.
We celebrate holidays like Halloween every year, but a lot of times we don't even think about the origins of our traditions. Here’s a little bit of knowledge about how the Halloween traditions we celebrate today came to be.
Halloween’s ancient traditions came from the Celts who observed a festival called Samhain. According to the American Folklife Center, at this time, they believed that ghosts would be able to interact in our world.
When Irish immigrants began fleeing to America because of the potato famine of 1846, they brought over their own Halloween traditions. It was around this time that Americans began dressing up and going door to door asking for food or money.
The tradition of dressing up has European and Celtic roots. According to a History Channel article the people believed that on Oct. 31 ghosts would be able to enter the world, and so they dressed up in masks so ghosts would not be able to recognize them.
The Atlantic reported that candy did not become a popular Halloween treat until the 1950s. The candy companies were looking for another holiday to sell their treats. Americans caught on to handing out candy because it was inexpensive and easier to hand out than bigger items like cakes or toys.
This year when you are out trick or treating or celebrating Halloween with friends, don’t forget the history behind the holiday.
Fall is one of my favorite seasons because there are so many fun things to do. Between fairs, pumpkin picking and bonfires, fall weekends are always filled with adventure. This year, there are several events happening in Macon, and you don’t want to miss out on them.
Hamlin Hills Haunted Maze
If you enjoy scary things, the Hamlin Hills Haunted Corn Maze is a great Halloween event. After dark on Fridays and Saturdays, Sept. 30 through Oct. 31, the regular corn maze will be filled with spooky characters. You don’t know what you will find behind every turn. To find out more information you can visit their Facebook page.
Lane Southern Orchards Fall Farm Festival
Lane Southern Orchards is a little south of Macon in Fort Valley, and this year they are having a fall festival. They will offer hayrides, a corn maze, a pumpkin patch and more. During the festival there will also be art and food vendors. The festival will be on Oct. 21 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For a full schedule of events you can visit their website.
Movie Night on the River
NewTown Macon will be having a movie night at Riverside Cemetery featuring a Halloween classic, Hocus Pocus. This event is free and open to the public and will take place on Oct. 13. NewTown Macon is encouraging people to wear costumes, and they will give out Halloween treats as well. The movie will begin at 8:30 p.m. and all you have to do is bring your own lawn chairs or blankets. You can visit their Facebook event page for more details.
Riverside Cemetery Spirits in October
Riverside Cemetery will be hosting their annual cemetery tour, and this year the theme is “Just Can’t Make This Stuff Up.” The tour will run from Oct. 19 to 22 and Oct. 26 to 29. Guides will lead you through the cemetery by flashlight, and actors will tell you stories of people who are buried there. Each tour will be one hour, and Thursday through Saturday they will be from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. On Sunday, it will be from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. For prices and ordering tickets, you can visit Riverside Cemetery’s website.
For fresh fall produce visit the Mulberry Market in Tattnall Square Park every Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The market will have vendors set up who will be selling produce, fresh flowers, coffee and many other goods. Even if you only have a little bit of time to visit, you can walk over to the park and check out what everyone is selling. For more information, you can visit their Facebook page.
A version of this article appeared on EngageCCJ.
This past summer, fourteen students had the opportunity to spend the summer in Cape Town, South Africa interning at different organizations.
“It was a once in a lifetime opportunity that has shown me how important it is to treat people like people and not [like they are] inferior because of their lack of education or wealth,” said senior Halie Zastre.
Professor Eimad Houry, chair of International and Global Studies and the director of the South Africa internship program said that the summer internship program grew out of relationships that were built on different Mercer on Mission trips to Cape Town.
The internship program has sent students to Cape Town for three consecutive summers.
“We realized that we could create a more sustainable relationship with some of our partner organizations if we could recruit Mercer students to go and work during periods that aren’t related to Mercer on Mission,” Houry said.
The South Africa internships are the only internships Mercer offers that are international.
Typically, students who are selected to have an internship in Cape Town will stay in the country for about eight to ten weeks.
“Two months is an opportunity for the student to get to know the culture to get to know the work climate in the country, and learn a lot more about the country as a result of the extended time experience,” Houry said.
All of the internships that are offered are with non-profit organizations. They cover a wide range of interests such as HIV/AIDS education, clinics, schools, human rights organizations, children’s rights organizations, environmental organizations and also small business support organizations.
“We are offering internships for people who are interested in making a change in social conditions and also in the lives of other people they come in contact with,” Houry said.
A wide range of students in different majors have participated in the trip including computer science, journalism, international affairs, political science, business and education students.
“For nine weeks I resided in Cape Town South Africa and worked at the Khayelitsha Site B Clinic. During my internship, I learned more than I ever imagined from the doctors, nurses, and midwives in the clinic. We observed and even assisted with the procedures that took place in the clinic daily,” said senior Oge Onuh.
Houry said he is looking to add two more types of internships to interest a broader range of students for summer 2018. He is looking to include internships for business students that would work at for-profit corporations.
Houry said he wants to include internships for those who are interested in the more administrative side of healthcare. He is also looking at organizations that promote health access and equality.
Currently, the program is accepting applications for the summer and spring of 2018. Students can apply through the Office of International Programs and the website they use for applications, mercer.terradotta.com.
Students who apply and are accepted to the program are guaranteed an internship placement, Houry said.
Beginning in August 2016, sophomores through seniors have received a button each fall with a saying on it that represents their year in school. The initiative is called Bear Your Button and is gaining popularity throughout campus this fall.
Bear Your Buttons is a campaign that was started by the Office of Student Success. At the beginning of the fall semester, students who had been at Mercer the previous spring or fall will receive a button.
Student Success Counselor, Emily Halstead, said the buttons are handed out by an RA or put in students’ Mercer mailbox.
“The idea of Bear Your Button came from a discussion within the Office for Student Success between me and Kellie Chastain, the Director of Undergraduate Retention,” she said.“We wanted to acknowledge the significance of students progressing, with the community of their academic class, to a new year and another step closer to earning a Mercer degree.”
Halstead and Chastain said they wanted to give students who return to Mercer a physical reminder of their progress. The buttons allow each class to be distinguished from one another and allows students to demonstrate their Mercer pride.
Halstead said that each class has a button with a saying that represents their progress in their goal to graduation.
The sophomore button says, “Bears are strong. A Sleuth is invincible.” Halstead said this was chosen to tell second-year students that they are surrounded by a community that is willing to support them.
The button for juniors says, “Conquer & Prevail.” Halstead said this is taken from Mercer’s Alma Mater to encourage third year students to remain strong in challenges they may face.
Finally, the senior button says, “To serve, to lead & to change the world.” Halstead said this saying encourages seniors to embrace Mercer’s mission of service as they graduate and continue on their journey.
Wearing these buttons on your backpack not only demonstrates your Mercer spirit, but can also win you prizes.
“We select different days throughout the year to give out prizes when we spot students who are wearing a button,” Halstead said.
Prizes have included donuts, candy, Mercer stickers and vouchers for free coffee from Jittery Joe’s.
Jittery Joe’s gift cards are new prizes for this semester and will be raffled to students who post a picture on Facebook or Instagram of their button on their backpack using #BearYourButton, Halstead said.
“It's cool to see other people on campus with their buttons so you can tell what year everyone walking around is. It's also a great way to show Mercer spirit,” said student Claudia McMeekin.
The dreaded finals week is here again. It's exciting because summer is almost here, but students have what seems like a million things left to do. However, here are some things you can do to make your finals week a bit more bearable.
The right playlist can help you focus on studying a lot better than other types of music.
If you can’t listen to music with words while studying, there are several playlists that can help. Any instrumental playlist should be good to study to, especially film scores.
Spotify has a genre called Focus that contains many playlists meant for studying. You may have to listen to a few before you find one that you really like, but once you do, it will make your finals week so much better.
One of the hardest things about studying is being able to find a good spot. During finals week, it is nearly impossible to get a study room or a good spot in the library.
Some spots on campus that are great for studying are the ARC, the tables by the fountain outside of Willingham Hall and the tables on Cruz Plaza.
If you’re looking to get off campus and study, the Washington Library is a place in downtown Macon that will probably be less crowded than Mercer’s Library.
Coffee shops such as Starbucks and Taste and See are also great places if you want to get a sweet treat while you’re working.
No matter where you study, just make sure you go somewhere where you will feel comfortable and focused.
Studying for hours on end usually requires a lot of snacks and some coffee. However, the lack of sleep and stress that accompany finals can sometimes make your immune system weak.
Make sure that some of your snacks are healthy, like orange juice or veggies. Also, make sure you take time to sleep and nap so that you don’t get sick.
Although finals are important, and they take a lot of time to study for, that doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun the last week.
If you feel like you need to take a break from stress, you could go to the Plunkett Pool or you could find a spot in Tattnall Square Park to hang a hammock and read or color.
It’s the last week and the end of your classes, but it’s also the last week of seeing your friends and roommates for the summer. Work hard, but also make memories with your friends.
With the beginning of spring comes the end of the semester and Easter season. If you’re not able to get home to celebrate Easter with your family this year, these ideas will help you still have a memorable holiday.
A good way to spend your Easter holiday would be to volunteer in Macon. The Macon-Bibb Animal Welfare center always needs volunteers to play with their animals. You can play with some of their cats or take one of their dogs on a walk. For more information on their hours and location visit www.maconbibb.us/animal-welfare. For other community service opportunities, MerServe may be able to help you find other service projects happening in Macon.
Go to church
Most churches have incredible Easter services. There are many different kinds of churches in Macon, and they all celebrate Easter a little differently. Some churches will have an Easter service on Saturday night or a sunrise service on Sunday morning. You can search for churches online and decide which service you would like to go to.
A fun part of the Easter season is all the themed candy there is. One fun treat you can make with some friends are Peeps Pretzel Rods from mylitter.com. If you like Peeps, you will really enjoy this treat.[sidebar title="Ingredients" align="left" background="on" border="all" shadow="off"]
12 Marshmallow Peeps bunnies
12 pretzel rods
4 oz white candy melts
Sprinkles (pastel or whatever color you would like)
Line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper.
Melt the chocolate coating for 45 seconds. Remove from the microwave and stir. Repeat until the coating is smooth.
Dip pretzel rods about halfway into the coating and shake off the excess.
Sprinkle the sprinkles onto the pretzel rod and place on the baking sheet to cool.
Place in refrigerator until the chocolate is fully hardened.
Using a spoon, put a little bit of candy coating on the back of a Peeps bunny and position on the pretzel rod.
After all the pretzel rods have bunnies on them place in the fridge until set.
Easter egg hunt
A lot of families have Easter egg hunts every year for the kids to celebrate the holiday. Instead of having one with your family, have one with your friends this year or see if an organization you’re apart of would be interested in hosting one. Plastic Easter eggs are really cheap and sold at stores like Target — buy some candy to put in them and set them up outside your dorm. Take turns hiding them, and then everyone can enjoy the candy that they collected.
If you’re sad about not being home for Easter, hopefully these ideas will help you still have a great holiday here at Mercer.
The long-awaited live action version of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” came out on March 16, and the film is as magical as expected.
Since the live action version of “Cinderella” was released in 2015, it was only a matter of time before Disney made another live action fairy tale movie.
However, the first concern that comes up when a classic movie is redone is whether it will stick to the original storyline or not. Thankfully, Beauty and the Beast did a flawless job with the transition.
Hardly anything was taken away from the original story, but details were added to make the story more complete. The movie shows more about both Belle and the Beast’s respective childhoods, something that was not addressed in the animated version.
The film also tells the audience more about the enchantress who cursed the prince. As it turns out, she has been living as a peasant in the same town that Belle lives in.
Several new songs were also introduced, which added to the magic of the movie. These fit right into the movie and aided the parts that were added to the original story.
Another concern when remaking a classic movie like this is whether the cast will live up to the expectations, and the casting choices could not have been better.
Emma Watson was stunning as Belle. She captured the Disney princess character flawlessly, and her singing was incredible. No one else could have played Belle as well as Watson did.
Josh Gad and Luke Evans were also fantastic as Le Fou and Gaston. They interacted just like the animated characters did in the original movie. If anything, Josh Gad brought more life to the character Le Fou than the character had in the original.
The objects that serve as main characters in the movie, such as Lumiere and Chip, looked very realistic. The castle that serves as the Beast’s home was even more elaborate than the one in the classic, and its ballroom and the library looked larger than life.
Overall, Beauty and the Beast exceeded the high expectations that were set for its release. Disney fans can now enjoy this new movie and look forward to the release of another live action classic in the next few years.
Macon is home to the International Cherry Blossom Festival that takes place every spring. This year the festival runs from Mar. 24 to Apr. 2 and includes many different events that are happening all over Macon. Even if you’re on a tight college budget you can still join in on the festivities. These are just some of the events that are taking place over the course of the festival.
Amusement Park Rides
For the whole 10 days of the festival, there will be amusement park rides in Central City Park during park hours. Most days you can purchase tickets for the rides on the Cherry Blossom website, but they have some days where you can ride for free. On Mar. 26, Mar. 29 and Apr. 2 they will have free rides from 12 - 1 p.m. So, if you want to enjoy the rides, but are on a tight budget you can get an hour of fun in for free. For tickets and schedule information visit cherryblossom.com
Zuzu African Acrobats
For the first time this acrobatic group from Kenya will be performing as part of the festival. They will have several shows each day of the festival and they are all free. On weekdays they will perform at 2:00, 3:00, 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. On weekends their shows are at 2:00, 3:00, 4:00, 5:00 and 7:00 p.m.
Woodruff House Tour
The Woodruff House is an incredible antebellum mansion that provides a great view of the city of Macon. Tours of this house are free and run everyday of the festival from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Don’t miss your opportunity to tour a wonderful building that holds Macon history.
The Butterfly Encounter
This butterfly exhibit will be in Central City Park and there will be over 200 butterflies there. Visitors even have the opportunity to feed the butterflies and learn about the butterfly lifecycle. This exhibit is free and open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on weekdays and 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on weekends. Their daily showtimes are at 1:00, 4:00 and 6:00 p.m.
To close this year’s festival out, there will be free live music at Wesleyan College beginning at 4:00 p.m. on Apr. 2. Bring a lawn chair and a cooler to enjoy the music and the fireworks that will close out the last night of the festival.
When spring comes around, it gets really hard for college students to focus. Summer is almost here, and it becomes even harder to study. If you’re craving summer adventure, but can’t go very far, these events and places in Macon will make you feel like you’re going somewhere new.
International Cherry Blossom Festival
Every year Macon holds the International Cherry Blossom Festival with events all over the city. This year it runs from March 24 to April 2 with many different events including a parade, concessions, amusement park rides and more. It doesn’t feel like spring in Macon without this annual festival which draws people from all over the world. For a complete schedule of events you can visit cherryblossom.com.
Amerson River Park
Amerson River Park is just one of the many beautiful parks in Macon. This park has 7 miles of hiking trails for walking or biking. You can also put a kayak, canoe or tube on the Ocmulgee River. This would be a great place to go if you want to spend some time outside, and entrance into the park is free. For more information visit maconga.com.
Lane Southern Orchards
Fresh fruit and strawberry picking is an especially sweet part of spring. Lane Southern Orchards is a little south of Macon, but if you want to get out of the city for a little while this, would be a great place to go. Their strawberry patch opens in early April, and they have a Peach Blossom Festival on March 18. For more events and information visit lanesouthernorchards.com.
High Falls State Park
If you are really feeling like adventuring off the beaten path, visit High Falls State Park, which is north of Macon. Their hiking trails run next to the beautiful falls. Or, if you like to fish, their lake is known for being one of the best fishing spots in Georgia for hybrid and white bass. You can also rent kayaks, canoes and paddleboards. Entrance to the park is only $5, not including rentals. For more information visit gastateparks.org.