Here is a table of the latest report of University endowment rankings in the U.S. and Canada. Mercer saw a $17 million increase in its endowment fund between fiscal years 2012 and 2013. That's an 8.7 percent jump year-over-year, and does not include contributions made in 2014. Mercer's 2013 endowment ranked 277th in the U.S. and Canada among all colleges and universities. The data comes from a recently released 2014 report from the National Association of College and University Business Officers and Commonfund Institute.
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Much to our disappointment, Victoria Conley and I ran unopposed in this year’s Student Government Association Presidential and Vice Presidential election. Students were denied the ability to choose whom they believed would be the best representation in SGA because there was only one option. Granted, Victoria and I believe we are the best candidates for the job, but we as students deserve more from each other. Mercer has been growing exponentially in so many facets — especially this past year — and it is our job to ensure that student leadership is not left behind. Mercer’s physical landscape completely transformed. In less than 10 years, the University Center, Mercer Village, Admission’s House, Cruz Plaza and Anderson Field have risen across our campus. Currently, even more additions are expanding the boundaries of Mercer’s campus. Lofts Phase Three and Four are under development as well as a new home for our Arts and Theater department. All of these physical improvements have radically changed every student’s experience at Mercer. Even in this rapid remodeling, Mercer’s leadership has maintained its commitment to provide a rigorous and meaningful education. The College of Liberal Arts is the cornerstone of Mercer. Even with the rise of the great football and basketball programs, Mercer’s leadership has been able to keep the focus on each student’s personal development through academics. More majors are being offered to incoming students. Professors are accelerating their courses. The Great Books Program and The Center for America’s Founding Principles have found their home at our university. In addition, the Honor’s Program has been restructured to allow students to really pursue their passions. This only begins to scratch the surface of Mercer’s other academic accolades found in the Engineering, Business and Education schools. Mercer has not left its academics behind. With all its inward improvements, Mercer has not neglected to reach outward. Our university has renewed its commitment to service and has shown the positive role a private liberal arts college can play in its surrounding community. Evidence exists in our commitment to the Promise Neighborhood, the rise in prestige of the Mercer Service Scholar’s Program, the restructuring of the Center for Leadership and Volunteerism, the commitment to the College Hill Master Plan and the personal integrity embodied in our professors. Mercer lives to create well-rounded students while simultaneously ensuring each student has the ultimate “college experience.” Mercer has not left its community behind. Our Mercer Bears and their historical basketball season put Mercer on the national stage. For $25, students had a ride to Raleigh, a hotel for a night and a ticket to witness Mercer basketball’s greatest moment in the defeat of Duke and our battle in the NCAA Tournament. Not every student at a small liberal arts college has that opportunity. We seized this opportunity to show the rest of the country the caliber of students that attend Mercer University. We proudly represented our school as classy, well-rounded individuals. Mercer has proven itself over and over to be a top-notch university. Mercer has not left its students behind. These achievements mean nothing if we the students do not utilize them. Mercer has grown for us. We are the ones who benefit from the united university, bridges being built, and amplified athletics. We owe our new home more than we have been willing to give. Victoria and I ran to be your president and vice president because of our gratitude to Mercer. It’s our time to give back. She and I intend to continue the growth of Mercer, and you are the most important piece of all. All students owe not only Mercer something, but each other. At the very least, students owe Mercer two choices to lead its student body, not an unopposed ticket. If you feel it’s your time, run or apply for the Student Government Association, engage in your student organization or find some way to give your new home your all. I challenge you to make an impact on the school that has invested so much in each of us. We need leaders for the love of Mercer! Don’t leave Mercer behind.
A festival that lacks foot-stomping, hip-swinging music lacks people who want to attend. Thankfully, the International Cherry Blossom Festival, the pinkest party around, celebrated Macon’s local commodity of the Yoshino cherry tree with no shortage of musical entertainment. One of the highly anticipated performances was the Matsuriza Taiko Drummers, a traditional Japanese drumming group who travel around to various festivals in the southeast but also call Epcot at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., their more permanent home. Matsuriza Taiko drummers combine fast-paced, almost mesmerizing sequences of drum thrumming with highly choreographed strings of back-and-forth rhythm-producing beats. For those who preferred a more relaxed setting, the festival offered organ concerts on weekdays at Mulberry Street United Methodist Church and St. Joseph Catholic Church. Arguably the most anticipated event for this year’s festival was the Wild Wing Cafe Cherry Blossom Concert Crawl that replaced the Cherry Blossom Street Party of years past. In true (pub) crawl fashion, a pink wristband for $20 at the door, or $15 presale, allowed entrance to all the musical hot spots for the evening, while a less expensive blue wristband permitted entrance to only one location. Venues sprawled all over downtown from Third Street Park, to Cox Capitol Theatre and Crazy Bull on Second Street, to the numerous hot spots on Cherry Street, including the 567 Center for Renewal, Theater Macon, the Hummingbird Bar and Taproom, the Wall and Fowl Play. Although the event extended throughout the evening of Saturday, March 29, most of the party did not kick into full swing until about 7 p.m. Sarah Harrell from Savannah was in town visiting her sister when the pair decided to visit the free party held at Third Street Park and listen to musical covers performed by the band One Horse Parade. She said that although Savannah has a music festival, it does not quite rival the communal feel and good times enjoyed at the Cherry Blossom Festival. Students showed up to support Mercer University’s own Bootz & Katz at the Wall around 9:30 p.m., and the talk of most “crawlers” was the Drivin’ N Cryin’ show at 11 p.m. at the Hummingbird. At the Cox Theatre, though, a different atmosphere clinged to the air. People gamboled about on the dance floor, enjoying the modern contortions and raspy harmonies of the southern rock group from South Carolina, Cranford Hollow, who showcased the uncommonality of a violin player and feature a local bass player from Milledgeville, Ga. Jimmy Monk, a gentleman from Warner Robins who attended the shows at the Cox Theatre with his girlfriend and friends from Hawkinsville, Ga., said he enjoyed the distinctness of the violin player. “My girlfriend’s mother was a violin player,” he said as he pointed behind him to where his girlfriend was standing. “They [Cranford Hollow] have an Irish sound to them. They’re great,” Monk said about the band. Many had mixed reviews about whether the concert crawl was an overall better event than the formerly held street party, but the majority of attendees were first-time, newcomers to the Cherry Blossom Festival altogether, like Orange County, Calif., resident Darlene Catuara who was listening to the Roadkill Ghost Choir at the Hummingbird with her high school friend Cathy. They came to check out a few bands but ended up really savoring the acts. Catuara called the atmosphere of the festival lovely, creating fun for all ages and giving the whole community a chance to come together. In her eyes, Macon contrasted very favorably to the “stuffiness of the people in Orange County.” Still want to experience the musical excitement of the Cherry Blossom Festival and afraid that you’ve missed out until next year? Never fear! Two more opportunities to enjoy music brought to the public by the Cherry Blossom Festival are right around the corner. The World Music Program featuring the Mercer University Children’s Choir, which gives students the opportunity to develop their talents at a young age with Townsend School of Music faculty and staff, will be performing at the Historic Douglass Theatre on April 6 at 3 p.m. Admission is free with pin or $10 otherwise.
Mercer men's basketball took on FGCU for the A-Sun championship and won, securing the 14th seed in the NCAA tournament Midwest region. The Bears will take on 3rd-seed Duke tomorrow at 12:15. (photos by Patrick Hobbs)
Raymond Ko & Shirlie Yiu Raymond is a junior, Shirlie is a freshman. How did you two meet? Raymond: We actually met in the UC. Shirlie: During Bear Fair. What do you do on dates? Shirlie: We usually eat dinner and watch a movie Raymond: We usually walk around the park everyday. Last weekend, we ate dinner and saw “Frozen” together. What did you two do for Valentine’s Day? Raymond: We ate dinner together and then went shopping downtown for a balloon. However, it took us two hours to find one because it was late, so either most of the stores were closed or no one was there to fill a balloon! Tam Phuong & Ellie Pham Both Tam and Ellie are juniors. How did you meet each other? Ellie: So during our freshman year while at Mercer, we met each other while the movie “Grease” was being played on the lawn. Of course, I’d already seen it, but Tam had not seen it yet. So he comes up to me and he’s all like: “Oh hey! What’s this movie about?” and he’s trying to be all friendly and stuff. However, I thought he was trying to pick me up or hit on me so I was kinda being rude to him and he’s like: “Oh...well...ok then...” Tam: She was being the b word to me… What do you do when you go on dates? Ellie: Hmmmmm, what do we do Tam? Tam: Ellie and I like to try new things. We always go to different culture restaurants and pick something random from the menu; we call that a good date. Ellie: I like exploring places What did you two do for Valentine’s Day? Ellie: We played video games. I finally got my first kill on League of Legends with Ashe! I was very excited and Tam was coaching me the whole time so I could play, because I’m such a noob Tam: And we went to Olive Garden. Ellie: And we finished it off by watching a movie! Emily Saxe & Brad Almand Emily Saxe is currently a sophomore, Brad Almand graduated last fall. How did you two meet? Brad: We met through mutual friends, and it was kind of an arranged thing for me to meet her. One of our mutual friends had experience with EDS [Ehlers-Danlos syndrom] , which Emily had just been diagnosed with fairly recently. And I showed up to meet her after they had that discussion. Upon meeting her, I knew that we clicked and had similar interests. Not only did I find her beautiful, but her personality and values were the things that I really valued. I knew at that moment that she was a very special girl, and I wanted to get to know her even more. What do you do for dates? Emily: We usually go to McDonald’s for our dates... just kidding. We’ve been to a couple movies, and he likes to take me to really nice restaurants pretty frequently. He spoils me! How did you spend Valentine’s Day together? Emily: We had our Valentine’s Day dinner at the Tik Tok Room in downtown Macon. We originally had reservations somewhere in Atlanta (it was supposed to be a surprise), but the ice storm said no. On the actual day, he surprised me in the morning with a dozen roses and a lot of chocolate! Later we exchanged gifts and went downtown because he had to DJ at The Wall. It was definitely the best Valentine’s Day that I’ve ever had!
Small business owners selling products from women’s denim to necklaces made from wine corks gathered at the Blacksmith Shop on Poplar St. for a First Friday treat. Hosted by Main Street Macon, the second “Flaunt: A First Friday Pop-up Boutique” was held Feb. 7 with doors opening at 5:00 p.m. and staying open until 8:00 p.m. Ashley Marie’s, Beesa Skincare Studio, Envie Boutique, Flirt Fashions, Karats and Keepsakes, Mint, Sorella, and Tipsy & Co. participated in the event. “Boutique retail remains an important part of our recruitment strategy for Downtown. Inviting local and regional businesses to see what Downtown Macon offers in terms of locations and demographics gets the area on their radar when considering additional locations,” said Mechel McKinley, Main Street Macon manager. Although a few of the boutiques were from out of town, such as Flirt Fashions located in Athens, Ga., all have an online presence and are looking for ways to further expand their clientele. “The first pop-up boutique in June was a tremendous success both for downtown and for the boutiques,” McKinley said. She considers the second pop-up boutique that arrived just in time for Valentine’s Day a success as well with steady foot traffic the whole night. Mint, a boutique in Dublin, Ga., came to both events. Before June, they only had an online website. After their participation at the first pop-up boutique, they organized a pop-up boutique in Dublin, and now they have their own storefront there. Even though they have decided not to open a store in downtown Macon for now, pop-up boutiques showed them expansion was a “viable option and that they had the capacity to do that,” McKinley said. McKinley counts this as a tangible success because their business grew and added a physical location. The idea for the first pop-up boutique came over a dinner date with Molly McWilliams Wilkins and her friends who own Mint. They had noticed other cities hosting pop-up boutiques and thought “why can’t we do it here?” Whitney Metts, co-owner of Mint said. “It’s a big collaborative effort,” Wilkins said. Wilkins helps organize the event and invites the boutique owners along with McKinley. The boutiques range from high-end designer price points to clothing and accessories college students can afford. Ashley Marie’s, a boutique with storefront locations in Perry, Ga., and Forsyth, Ga., proclaims customers rave about their prices. “Someone may have a dress for $100, but we would carry it for $56,” said Lynn Bassett, owner. Several boutiques, particularly Sorella and Tipsy & Co., expressed an interest in visiting students and Greek chapters at Mercer University and other surrounding colleges. The economic side to supporting small, local businesses is cyclical. Money spent locally goes to the paychecks of the employees who then spend their paychecks locally. It’s an economic model practiced by many cities throughout the nation and seems to create a more united community. In addition, existing downtown boutiques—including Posh, Pink Chief Boutique and LoveJones Couture—stayed open Friday night with special deals.
February 20-23: “Picasso” at the Lapin Agile Backdoor Theatre February 20: Women’s Basketball vs. USC Upstate Hawkins Arena @ 7 p.m. February 21: Open Mic Night Bear Rock Cafe @ 7 p.m. February 22: Women’s Basketball vs. ETSU Hawkins Arena @ 3 p.m. February 23: Taize Worship Service Penfield @ 9 p.m. February 24-27: RHA Week February 25: NSLS Speaker Broadcast: Blake Mycoskie Med School Aud. @ 7 p.m., Intramural Basketball Championship Night UC Intramural Courts @ 6 p.m. February 26: Graduate School Workshop CSC Conf. Rm 3 @ 10 a.m., Big Man on Campus Willingham Aud. @ 6 p.m. February 27: Men’s Basketball v. Florida Hawkins Arena @ 7 p.m. February 28: BINGO! Bear Rock Cafe @ 7 p.m. March 1: Men’s Basketball vs. Jacksonville Hawkins Arena @ 3 p.m. March 4: Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday Celebration Mercer Village
Chamber Winds Ensemble Fickling Recital Hall Feb. 7 Picasso at the Lapine Agile Backdoor Theatre Feb. 13- 16 Mercer University Orchestra Fickling Recital Hall Feb. 13, 7:30 p.m. Student Recitals: Alison Post Graduate: Collaborative Piano Feb. 18, 7:30 p.m. Alexis Setteducatto Junior: Voice Feb. 7, 3:00 p.m. Justin McAdara Graduate: Trombone Feb. 19, 7:30 p.m.
February 6: Resume and Cover Letter Workshop CSC Conference Room 2 @ 4-6 p.m., Women’s Basketball vs. Northern Kentucky Hawkins Arena @ 7 p.m. February 7: First Friday Downtown February 8: Women’s Basketball vs. Lipscomb Hawkins Arena @ 3 p.m. February 10: Stamp a Ring Novelty Fun! CSC Lobby @ 11-12 a.m. February 10-13 SHAPE Ask Me About It: Questions on Relationship Violence February 11: NSL Live Speaker Broadcast, Medical School Auditorium @ 7 p.m. February 13: Men’s Basketball vs. Lipscomb Hawkins Arena @ 7 p.m. February 14: Rec Sports Bowling Trip Sign up on IM Leagues @ 3 p.m. February 15: Service Saturday sign up at mercer.edu/volunteer Men’s Basketball vs North Kentucky “Hillbilly Hoedown” @ 3 p.m. STOMPFEST! The Grand Opera House @ 7 p.m. February 18: SHAPE Presents: Mark Sterner Willingham Auditorium @ 7 p.m. February 18-19: 10th Annual Building the Beloved Community Symposium
The cold bitter weather of December surrounds Mercer’s campus. Dark clouds cover the sky to set a gloomy week for many students. Grade point averages and future careers can be decided in the upcoming days. Students can be found in Tarver Library where they prepare for the rigorous exams scheduled later in the week. It is crunch time. Students run to professors for help, coffee pots are brewing and eyes grow weary from reading. Scared and worried, I venture into Tarver’s library to find a place to study, yet I find no vacancies. At night, the same can be said for the supposed 24-hour room. The room in Tarver’s 24-hour room is scarce and it worries me that students won’t be able to study efficiently. To ensure everyone can study, the 24-hour room should be extended to the entire ground floor during finals week. The 24-hour room consists of six study rooms, five tables, two couches and a mini lounge, which accommodates only about 30 students. The undergraduate population at Mercer as of Fall 2013 is about 4,400 and is growing rapidly. In fact, the class of 2017 is the largest class to enroll in Mercer’s history. The university is recognizing this problem as a whole with new Lofts under construction on College Street, but the lack of study space is alarming. The 24-hour rooms won’t be able to support everyone, especially during the busiest week of the semester, at its current state. An expansion will be needed in the upcoming years, but several issues confine the university from this extension. After talking to the library’s faculty, their main concern of a 24-hour floor would be book security. After closing, the library is locked besides the 24-hour room and no one can enter the library. This ensures no one can steal books overnight and limits students to the 24-hour room. Book security is a main priority of the library but during finals week the door could be unlocked. A front desk could be installed downstairs, where a worker monitors the floor, the elevator can be turned off, a gate installed at the staircase and scanners placed at the exit of the 24-hour room to improve security. With these changes in place, security won’t be a stumbling block. However, funding such a proposal is a problem. Tarver Library is an integral part of the university but isn’t given the budget of other schools on campus. The lack of funding confines the ground floor from expanding. The library spends majority of its money purchasing new books to add to its staggering collection. Without a major reconstruction of Tarver’s budget, an expansion is out of the question. However, the future looks rather bright for Tarver’s ground floor. In an interview with the dean of libraries, Beth Hammond spoke about an eventual expansion of the 24-hour room and issues surrounding the proposal. Hammond voiced her concern over collection security of books and the financial struggle of expansion. The proposal included a 40 percent increase in space for the 24-hour room with the study rooms unscathed and intact. The back wall of the study rooms will be extended to the microfilm columns located on the ground floor for $50,000. The conversation ended with Hammond and I discussing a potential coffee shop being constructed in Tarver. The coffee shop would be constructed near the lounge, where a series of broken desks and shelves waste away. No one can confirm nor deny that a coffee shop is being installed, but Hammond did say there were preliminary discussions with the company Aramark. Aramark would help fund the expansion and appease the $50,000 price tag. Students could easily drink good coffee late at night and study comfortably as well. The expansion of the 24-hour room seems to be heavily discussed among the library faculty and on the minds of the administration. If the proposal goes through, students can worry about other things, such as the dispersion forces of octane and butane rather than asking where I am going to study tonight?
By Nicholas Wooten Contributing Writer email@example.com A few weeks ago, I was sitting in my dorm with my roommate and my girlfriend watching Netflix and relaxing after a long day of class, just like every other lazy col- lege student. I’m not sure how we got there but someone brought up the topic of a free-for-all Nerf Gun war on Cruz Plaza. Being a child at heart, I was extremely excited to finally have an excuse for running around on campus like an idiot as I shot people with N-Strike Elite darts. However, the feeling faded quickly as I remembered Mercer’s policy that prevents students from bringing weapons that range from hunting weapons to BB guns, paintball guns to bowie knives, and as my RA made very clear, water guns and Nerf guns. Why is the university so absolute on its stance on firearms and weapons? Why can’t students with concealed carry permits carry their weapon on campus? Proponents of gun control might answer that the right to bear arms hinges on the establishment of a state militia. However, the historical and legal context in which the document was written must be considered in order to understand the amendment. Following the Revolutionary War, private citizens feared that a standing federal army could perform a coup on the nationally elected government. In response to these fears, James Madison responded in Federalist Paper 46 that a militia of armed citizens fighting for common civil liberties would act as a deterrent. The Second Amendment, like many other legal documents of the time period, naturally divides into two parts: a prefatory clause (stating the purpose making the right necessary) and operative clause (stating the right it- self). Simply because the state militias of yesteryear are gone doesn’t mean the right to bear arms ceases to exist. The motive behind the Second Amendment addresses tyrannical or oppressive actions that bring harm to the individual. The Second Amendment also strongly supports the natural right of self-defense, a right which Mercerians may want to express more regularly. According to Neighborhood Scout, Macon is safer than only 2 percent of cities in the United States, with nearly 131 crimes per square mile occurring in the city last year. Throw out all the statistics you want, I don’t feel like Macon is that dangerous. Hell, I might be inclined to say I sometimes feel safer in Macon than in my own hometown. However, my friends (roommate and girlfriend included) don’t feel the same as I do. The matter for me, however, is one of principle. According to Western tradition and the US Constitution we have a right to self-defense and the right to bear arms. John Locke, the famous 17th century Philosopher who inspired Jefferson, Adams, Paine, Franklin and other famous Patriots, stressed the natural rights of life, liberty and property. Therefore, we as citizens have the right to protect and defend ourselves against anything that threatens our life, liberty or property whether the aggressor is our next door neighbor or a stranger. By allowing individuals with concealed carry permits to have their weapons on campus, you are not arming every single individual. Guns would not appear in mass quantities and individuals would not be very aware of their presence. Many other universities in this nation have started to allow their students to carry firearms. Colorado State granted this right to their students in 2004; a negative incident involving an armed student has not occurred. Public universities in Georgia passed a bill last March that allows students with concealed carry permits to have their weapons on campus. Why can’t Mercer follow suit? Unlike those public universities, the “alcohol and firearms don’t mix” argument should not exist as Mercer is supposed to be a dry campus. Do we not trust our fellow Mercerians enough to bring their weapons on campus without shooting an innocent individual? We are told we are adults yet, we aren’t granted certain rights afforded to student at other institutions in the state. I understand the issue may be controversial, but at the very least, Mercer should not place my Nerf gun in the same category as a bowie knife. By Caitlin Glasscock Staff Writer firstname.lastname@example.org Gun control is a growing issue that our country has been facing for several years. The matter of whether or not America needs more or less gun control legislation has become a more heated topic as a result of recent shootings that have grown into household names. The Arvada Movie Theater shooting and Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting brought to our attention the threat that limited gun control laws offer. Gun and weapon control can present a problem to those who have or wish to gain a concealed weapon permit and to those who wish to purchase a weapon for either game or self-defense. The idea and argument has been proposed for teachers at schools to be armed in case they face the problem of an invader. What about college students though? Should college students be allowed to carry a weapon on-campus? College students spend a good amount of time outside of the classroom and venturing out into the new world and, in the case of Mercer students, crime-ridden town that comes with their new school. This is the first time that most students have left home to live on their own without their parents’ judgment of what is and is not safe. A concern for many young adults, both students and non-students, is safety. One solution to a young adult’s safety concerns is to carry a weapon such as a gun, knife or mace. When college students are allowed to carry a weapon on campus, the threat of danger increases rather than safety. For those young adults living on a college campus, many states either ban concealed weapons by law or leave it up to the campus to decide. A concealed carry permit is not granted to any individual under the age of 21 years, the same age as a typical college student in his or her junior year. Twenty-one is considered by many to be the age of a young adult, and while students are still adults, they do not all necessarily possess the maturity and mindset to carry a concealed weapon. Without the proper mindset, a weapon could be harmful to the carrier and those around them. Allowing students to protect themselves with a concealed weapon also presents a hazard to those around them, as shown in the college shootings at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University. It is important to keep weapon control laws current, and to strengthen the enforcement of said laws. The Second Amendment grants citizens the right to keep and bear arms. This is often brought up in the heated debates between pro- and anti-gun control proponents. In both the American Bill of Rights and in James Madison’s Federalist Paper No. 46, it is not specifically stated that every individual is granted the right to bear arms for self-defense but rather in defense of oneself against tyranny and the government. Under the interpretation that the Second Amendment stands to arm the military to defend against the government, should it become tyrannical, no private individual is granted the right to bear arms privately. This leaves the Second Amendment with the possibility of restriction such as not allowing students to have a concealed weapon, or any weapon, on a college campus, even if they possess a concealed carry permit. Allowing weapons onto college campuses poses a threat because it blurs the lines between what poses as protection and what poses as a threat.
The opinion expressed in this piece may not reflect that of the faculty, staff and students of Mercer University, and does not reflect the opinion of every member of The Cluster staff. Raymond Partolan’s story, which starts on page five, is inspiring. This is a young man who was brought to the United States by his parents. He was too young to make the decision on his own, and when the Partolans’ visas expired, he was also too young to make the decision to leave the U.S. Raymond grew up as an undocumented immigrant, but that is not his fault. He grew up in Macon, attended public school in Bibb County and has always been a contributing member to our community. Yet, he did not feel welcome in his own hometown. He wasn’t sure that he would be able to go to college—an opportunity most of us take for granted. However, he has made the most of his situation, and is now active in lobbying not only for immigration reform, but also for reform in the University System of Georgia’s (USG) policies which severely inhibit undocumented students from attending public universities in Georgia. We support Raymond and his efforts, and strongly believe that he deserves to be a citizen of the U.S. He should not be punished for a decision made by his parents. His parents should not be punished for doing the best they could in a difficult situation. There should be a pathway to citizenship for people like Raymond, who were brought here as children and who grew up in the U.S. and want to be contributing members to our country. Those same students should have easier access to Georgia’s public universities. Even if undocumented students grew up in the U.S., they are denied in-state tuition in Georgia. They are also denied state scholarships and loans like the HOPE Scholarship. Raymond grew up here just like the rest of us, so why should he be denied something that we take for granted? The USG Board of Regents needs to change its policies. Students like Raymond, especially students in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, should be granted in-state tuition and the opportunity to receive state scholarships and loans. But even more, students like Raymond deserve to be citizens. The DREAM Act, which would provide a pathway to citizenship for childhood arrivals like Raymond, was introduced in 2001. It still has not passed. Either the DREAM Act or something like it needs to pass, so that Raymond can have what he’s always wanted—citizenship in his home, the country he loves. Immigration reform is not a faceless issue; it affects human beings like Raymond. It affects at least one of our fellow Mercerians. Before you form an opinion about immigration reform, read the story on page five and think about people—your fellow humans and fellow Mercerians.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVPFL-Y4-Ao&feature=youtu.be] Patrick Hobbs / Videographer Emily Farlow / Video Editor and Interviewer
The month of September marks the celebration of Georgia Music Month. Macon is a rich source of music history. Macon serves as a home to The Allman Brothers Band, members of R.E.M., Little Richard, Otis Redding and many other talents. On Sept. 9, Macon celebrated the late Otis Redding’s 72nd birthday. Otis Redding is one of Macon’s most recognized musical figures. He made a name for himself through musical hits such as “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of The Bay,” “These Arms of Mine,” and “Dreams to Remember.” In celebration of Redding’s birthday, the city of Macon named one of its trolley cars “Dreams” after his song “Dreams to Remember,” a song that he co-wrote with his wife Zelma Redding. Leila Reagan-Porter, who works with the Otis Redding Foundation, said, “Music is such a huge part of our heritage in Macon, and it's so easily forgotten when we are always looking for the next big thing. “Legends like Otis Redding helped shape a city, a region, a sound, an era - and all these things shape who we are today,” she said, while explaining the importance of remembering Macon’s “King of Soul.” Redding believed that an empowered youth population would help the community rise to a higher standard and quality of life. In 2007 Redding’s wife established the organization “The Big ‘O’ Youth Educational Dream Foundation” and later changed the name to “The Otis Redding Foundation.” The Otis Redding Foundation is dedicated to help individuals pursue an education in the field of music. The foundation provides opportunities through music programs and scholarships. The foundation was established to be rooted in, and carry on, the message of Redding’s life-long passion for music. Educational awareness programs have been chartered through the Otis Redding Foundation and encourage choices that provide opportunities to enhance participants’ lives. In Reagan-Porter’s article “The Business of Otis Redding: How, in Only Six Years, The King of Soul Created a Legacy That Still Lasts and Lasts,” she quotes Zelma Redding, describing her husband: “He started giving scholarships early in his career. He started having underprivileged kids at our house, back in 1966, who didn’t have anything,” Zelma said. “He was going to have the bus to bring them out annually and let them enjoy a day at our ranch. Giving back. That’s what life was about to Otis. Not being selfish and crazy.” The Otis Redding Foundation has found ways to give back to the Macon community, mostly in ways that tie back to music education. “From the annual Singer/Songwriter Camp, to the Foundation's adopted school of Bruce Elementary, to the success of young musicians like conductor Roderick Cox (assistant conductor of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra and music director of the Alabama Symphony Youth Orchestra), the Foundation finds many ways to improve the quality of life for our community through the education and empowerment of its youth,” said Reagan-Porter. The foundation helps teach the community and its youth how music can help spur other opportunities including education. “The Foundation's motto, ‘Progress through Education. Enlightenment through Music,’ means that we can find many ways to bring music and education together to help a part of the community that is sadly overlooked in many ways,” said Reagan-Porter.
Sept. 16 - Oct. 11: Laura Mongiove Exhibit Hardman Hall Gallery Sept. 16 (Master Class),10 a.m. Sept. 17 (Recital), 7:30 p.m. Timothy LeFebvre Fickling Recital Hall Sept. 19 - 29: “Tartuffe” Back Door Theatre Sept. 22, 2:30 p.m.: Mercer Singers Family Weekend Concert Fickling Recital Hall Sept. 23 (Master Class), 7 p.m. Sept. 24 (Recital), 7:30 p.m. Brentano Quartet Fickling Recital Hall Sept. 13 Midnight Movie Mercer Marketing and Communications The Mercer Players’ season begins with the hilarious comedy “Tartuffe,” opening Sept. 19th.
Dr. Crawford, who originates from Kentucky, is a Chemistry professor who attended Mercer University and graduated in 1997. He was so wiling to share his memories with current students that he actually shared them twice. Due to an amateur error of not making sure the recording device was on, Dr. Crawford was generous enough to allow me to come back for a second interview. These are his responses. Cluster: What made you originally choose to attend Mercer? Crawford: As I was finishing up high school I was awarded a four-year ROTC scholarship. At the time, we just got information from a lot of different schools that were essentially trying to recruit. Mercer fit into the window of what I was looking for in a school: small liberal arts school with small class sizes, which was a big draw for me. The American Chemical Society certified their chemistry program, and it still is [certified]. I had a high school chemistry teacher that talked about that as being the mark of a good school. Distance from home was a big thing. The weather is not too bad. All those things came together, and it looked like a great place to get started. Once I visited the school, I fell in love with the campus. C: Why did you choose your major? Crawford: I had a very strong high school chemistry teacher, so I liked it coming in [to college]. That is what I thought would be my initial major along with pre-med. Like a lot of students who come here, Mercer is very appealing because of its connections with the medical field. Chemistry tends to be how I think about problems and how I approach things. C: Whaclubs/organizations were you involved in? Crawford: I was probably overcommitted in my time here. I did three years on student government, which it’s good to see those pictures are still up in the Connell Student Center. During my junior year, we made a bid for the SGA presidency and didn’t win, but I really enjoyed going through that process. I was involved in the Student Activities Board for a little over a year. I was a member of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity. I worked with the OAs (Orientation Assistants). I believe they are called PAs now. I worked on setting up and coordinating the Freshman Orientation program. I [also] worked with ACS. C: Where was your favorite place on campus to hangout? Crawford: They used to make fun of me all the time. I was a big cafeteria guy. Usually I would schedule my classes, if at all possible, to have a big block around lunch. If you could schedule over a couple of sessions, you could just sit in there and hang out for a couple of hours. I would usually just sit in the cafeteria and wave as people would come in between classes and [I would] hang out. I also hung out at our fraternity lodge, which sat about where the new UC pool is. We could sit up there, pull our couches out, and watch the softball field. In addition to obviously being in Willet. As a Chem major, you naturally hang out here. C: What is your best memory from your four years at Mercer? Crawford: The thing I think I enjoyed most was working with the Orientation Assistants as the Student Coordinator. I got to work with Dr. Laurie Lankin and Dr. Steve Brown, both of whom are still here at Mercer. We had about 40 to 50 OAs at the time who were a great cross section and diverse group. Being around orientation, which we are just coming out of now, there is a lot of excitement, and it’s nice to be apart of that excitement. C: Which aspects of Mercer have you seen go through the most change? Crawford: The biggest change when I came back was the physical change. The south half of campus has undergone significant improvements since I left. The UC sits on top of what used to be fraternity/sorority row and is a great addition compared to the gym and workout center we used to have, which was the front portion of Penfield gym. Also with the UC, basketball can now be played on campus. When I was here, we used to play [basketball] at the Macon Coliseum down off I-16. Attendance was pretty bad. The football stadium, which now sits on top of what were probably some of the worst apartments imaginable, has been replaced and looks really nice.
In hibernation since 1941, the Mercer University Bears will soon resume their place on the field of intercollegiate football against Reinhardt University on the last Saturday in August. Some may say, “So what? Who cares if the Bears now have a football team? I don’t know the first thing about football nor do I remotely see what the hype is about.” Let’s dig deeper, shall we, to find that all the excitement is for a legitimate reason. Even if you don’t understand the rules of football, you probably realize football is a uniquely American pastime and a means of entertainment for millions each fall. Personally, I have never been the one to be a tummy-painted football fanatic. In high school, I always had to ask my friends simple questions about which goal was ours or how a first down had any significance, but when the clock was in its final seconds and all your team needs is one more touchdown, the game can become intense. You start to yell louder for your team to Go! Fight! Win! as if your cheering singlehandedly helps push the guy with the ball further towards the in zone. Besides the excitement during the game, tailgating before the game will be loads of fun for everyone. Local businesses downtown have agreed to allow students to tailgate off-campus. Grilling and chilling with friends on the weekend always seems like a good way to spend time outside of the academic world. Plus, with local businesses involved, football will bring the community closer together. With the surrounding community growing closer by the minute, Mercer spirit is going to spread like wildfire, especially if we start winning. If we end up winning more games than people probably expect us to (so more than two or three), our little school is going to be on the map of awesomeness! Not only having stellar academics but also a great sports program makes Mercer more attractive on all fronts. According to Mercer’s webpage of historical football facts, Mercer played against the University of Georgia in the face-off considered to be the first collegiate football game ever played in the state, so we are a part of the revival of a historically significant team. All the history majors should be smiling at their own contribution to sports legend. On another positive note, ticket sales bring in revenue for the school - and, next year, Mercer will be in the Southern Conference, joining teams like Samford, the Citadel, Georgia Southern, and Furman. This will open up opportunities and exposure to other schools that Mercer has previously not had the luxury of knowing. Football is a step in the right direction for all the people that call Mercer and/or Macon home. Every student at Mercer is witnessing a massive shift within the culture of the University. We are beginning new traditions and are cheering for a team that has been nonexistent for 70 years. Like an actual bear that sleeps in a cave all winter, the Bears are waking up and will hopefully be stronger, mightier, and more ferocious than ever before.
The idea of alcohol being permitted on campus is something that seems to create controversy for various reasons amongst people. Everyone has an opinion on it and as far as my opinion is concerned, I think that alcohol should be permitted on campus. In fact I’m surprised that it hasn’t already been allowed. Unfortunately there have been a number of reasons why alcohol has yet to be “legal” on campus. As someone from Oregon, it seems a big part of the equation has to do with the fact that this is the South and it has a long and well known history for being very strict when it comes to laws and regulations with the selling of alcohol. Some people may grow up with the attitude that alcohol is bad and should be avoided. While there is nothing wrong with that mentality it does however create a controversy between those who do enjoy the consumption of alcohol and those who do not. One of the reasons that this topic has been coming up frequently around campus is because of the football team. The idea of having a football team has caused for some people to want alcohol to be allowed on campus and to be sold at the games. I agree with this idea because people should be able to decide for themselves whether or not they want to enjoy a beer while watching a football game. --Written by Brad Almand, a Contributing Writer Mercer has been a dry campus, from the beginning of its existence. Though there are so many pros and cons to having a dry or a wet campus, the ultimate thing that we need to think about is, why change something that works? There are several individuals on this campus that elected to come to Mercer, because their morality indulged in the title “dry campus.” Some people may argue that Mercer is stuck in the past and that the university must progress. It would be more accurate to say that Mercer is stuck with its tradition, but the university finds ways to compromise with its students. Though we are a dry campus, there are still opportunities for of-age people to go downtown, or anywhere off-campus, to do what they please. Mercer is so understanding of this that they even provide a free trolley service on the weekends. This off-campus outlet is important, because it allows of-age students to drink if they want to, it helps regulate underage drinking, and it keeps alcohol and the consequences of it away from people that do not want it. Now that we have football, this controversy has become an even bigger issue. Not only do we have to remain a dry campus to the students but also to the thousands of people attending games. Just like Mercer Village is technically off campus, maybe the university should consider naming the stadium an off-campus location. --Written by Sameera Yusuf, a Contributing Writer
T-shirt shop Dysfunctional Tees-n-Things opened for business on July 26 on Second Street. Business owners Synja Turner and Tylina Swinger, both Wesleyan College graduates, started their own business to offer customers pre-made, novelty and custom T-shirts. Going into business together was a no-brainer for Turner and Swinger. In an email interview, Turner and Swinger said, “With two owners you have someone who is just as committed to the business, and all the responsibilities are shared, which relieves so much stress.” As first-time business owners with previous experience in retail, the name of their store gives a unique first impression. The syllabication, or phonetic pronunciation, of the word dysfunctional by design attracts attention and leads potential customers to assume the name of the store reflects the unusual yet creative nature of the products sold. Also, the name of the store derives from a children’s book called Dysfunctional Family created by Synja Turner. She wanted to be able to display her art from the books onto T-shirts. Their pick of a downtown location was meant to make their store more accessible to a wide range of clientele and in part was due to downtown’s recent growth. “Also, with Mercer’s football team and new businesses deciding to be located downtown, (it) makes downtown Macon the place to be,” Turner and Swinger said. Their motto “U Think It, We Make It!” represents both Turner and Swinger’s devotion to providing the customer with whatever they wants. Dysfunctional Tees-n-Things offers pre-made shirts and custom designs, and customers have the option of bringing in an original design or having one created in the store. Anything you think of can be customized onto a T-shirt at Dysfunctional Tees-n-Things. T-shirts, hoodies, gym shorts, mouse pads and more are also available. T-shirts and other apparel can be individualized with a particular sorority, fraternity, or other club/organization’s name on it. Pricing depends on design factors as well as quantity, color, size and the date it’s all needed by. Pre-made tees are around $20 and custom designs begin at $25. Bulk orders are offered, and turn around times range from a few minutes to a week. There is no minimum requirement for bulk orders and no set-up fee. Besides T-shirts, Dysfunctional Tees-n-Things sells novelty iPhone cases, jewelry and hats with more products expected to hit the shelf soon. Every Monday-Wednesday from 4 p.m.-7 p.m., the store offers a happy hour special of 10 percent off any T-shirt, or you can bring a friend and get a buy one, get one free deal. All college students love a good discount, and Dysfunctional Tees-n-Things wants to help by giving college students 10 percent off. In addition, if you like and share their Facebook page and provide a snapshot, you could receive 10 percent off your purchase. However, discounts cannot be combined with other offers or special promotions. Dysfunctional Tees-n-Things is also looking for a part-time public relations intern with the potential of getting hired full-time. Dysfunctional Tees-n-Things will be open Monday-Friday from noon–8:00 p.m. and Saturday from 10:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m.
Apply to be a part of the 2013-2014 editorial staff! Visit mercercluster.com/apply to apply for an editor position. Applications are due Friday, May 3 by 10 p.m.