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Olivia Buckner and Oge Onuh have been named the new President and Vice President for the 2017-2018 Student Government Association.
“We’re really excited,” Buckner said. “We’re ready to hit the ground running, and we’ll probably have a meeting tomorrow.”
The pair won with 636 votes, with Catie Byrd and Michael Smith getting 364 votes.
That's 248 less student votes than in the initial election on March 28 and March 29.
Both students are rising seniors at Mercer. Buckner has been a class senator her entire Mercer career, while Onuh has been a senator for the 2016-2017 academic year.
According to Buckner and Onuh’s Facebook event, this ticket is hoping to “optimize your opportunities” with active communication and impactful initiatives.
“We want SGA to be a place for all, and the best way to offer this is to have Inclusivity be at the TOP of the list. This means every student should feel that they have an equal voice,” they said on the Facebook page. “We want to be in constant contact with students, organizations, clubs, faculty, staff and administration to get optimal results.”
Buckner and Onuh’s ticket is the only one with Greek and minority representation.
These students will step into their new positions after the SGA transition banquet on April 17.
However, the SGA election season is not over. The senator qualifications will start Thursday, April 6. Elections for senators will be from 9 a.m. on Tuesday, April 11 until 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 12.
The Executive Board for the 2017-2018 academic year will be determined by the new President and Vice President.
“We hope everyone comes out and runs for senator,” Buckner said.
In addition to other campus updates, Dr. Thomas Scott spoke at SGA’s latest weekly meeting to discuss the future of the College of Liberal Arts’ experiential learning requirement.
Experiential learning courses are required by the university as part of their Engaged Learning initiative. These courses focus on active learning outside of the classroom. they include study abroad, Mercer on Mission, internships, service learning and undergraduate research. The College of Liberal Arts requires all of its students to enroll in one of these classes and, according to enrollment records, the majority of students end up taking far more than is required.
Scott sent surveys to CLA faculty chairs and SGA members, and also hosted a focus group to figure out if there was a majority opinion about the possibility of removing EXP as a required course. He reviewed the results with SGA, and listened to their feedback.
“So many people do four or five of these anyway,” Senator Millie Smith said. “I don’t think we need the assessment for it.”
Other members also said they believed that because most Mercer students end up taking EXP credits for their own sake, there isn’t a need for it to be an official requirement.
Other SGA members, including senior Senator Oge Onuh, said they were in favor of keeping the requirement, but want to make it more clearly communicated in advising meetings because some members said that not all students were aware of the EXP requirement. In a few rare instances, it has caused students to take an extra semester to fulfill it.
No official consensus was reached, but Scott said he planned to organize an informal report to submit to the General Education Committee and CLA faculty by the end of this semester.
In other news, SGA will host a ‘Mental Health Week’ starting March 20th. Applications for summer housing for internships are open until March 13th, and Community Engagement and Development applications will be accepted through March 15th. Both online applications can be found on the Facebook page ‘Mercer University Student Government Association’.
Mercer’s Student Government Association is kicking off the new year and semester with initiatives and programs designed to help the student body.
Senior Aaron Scherf, Vice President of SGA, explained that this semester will be focused on “mental health and safety, cultural and diversity understanding, and leadership development.”
The Minority Affairs and Community Engagement offices are working with SGA to create “events that unite students with community members knowledgeable on issues like police brutality, the Black Lives Matter movement, immigration policy and Native American rights,” Scherf said.
In addition, the Community Engagement office will coordinate with Career Services to develop a new internship matching system to connect Mercer students with relevant work experience in the Macon area.
“We’re focusing on what the students want this semester,” said Freshman Senator Adam Penland.
Last semester, he worked with Aramark to create new dining options for the meal swipe at Chick-fil-A.
This semester, he’s working towards making later dining options available and potentially recruiting new eating options for campus and Mercer Village. Penland noticed a need for lengthened dining hours after conversations with classmates.
SGA has meetings every Monday night at 6 p.m. in the Connell Student Center conference room 2, and students are always welcome to observe. There is time allotted at the end of each meeting for anyone to speak to SGA members about their concerns or suggestions.
Penland said he urges students to keep updated on their class Facebook pages and to get involved with SGA’s blackboard events and weekly meetings.
Students can send general comments or give SGA feedback by contacting the organization at Merceruniversitysga@gmail.com.
Under the direction of Maestro Ward Stare, the Mercer University Orchestra will perform a concert in Fickling Hall on Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m.
Students rehearsed individually for weeks, and after undergoing sectional and full rehearsals, they will perform Benjamin Britten’s Simple Symphony, Levi Fasoldt’s Three Sketches of Unblemished Earth, and Ottorino Respighi’s Ancient Airs and Dances, Suite No. 3.
“Their concerts are always full of energy and excitement,” Amy Moretti, director of Mercer’s Robert McDuffie Center for Strings, wrote in an email. “It’s inspiring to watch these young musicians live in concert.”
Several instrumental sections will be represented at the show in Fickling Hall, inside the lobby of the McCorkle Music Building.
The concert is free and open to the public. Seating is on a first come, first serve basis.
In Rick Riordan’s Norse-inspired trilogy “Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard,” a homeless Boston teenager saves his city — before promptly dying. But Magnus’s death is only the beginning of his crazy existence as he enters Valhalla, an afterlife designed for selfless warriors. Even if his life is over, his problems certainly aren’t.
In the trilogy’s second installment, “Magnus Chase and the Hammer of Thor,” Magnus is burdened with a grueling task. He must find Thor’s missing weapon, a devastatingly powerful hammer with the ability to save or destroy the gods. Magnus is roped into an elusive journey to find the weapon as doomsday looms closer than ever.
On top of that, his new hallmate Alex is a child of his sworn enemy, and his friends Blitz and Hearth are nowhere to be found. But with a dangerous wedding quickly approaching and Magnus’s own complicated family ties, the conflict becomes far bigger than just a hammer. The fate of the worlds — all nine of them — hang in the balance.
“The Hammer of Thor” continues the nonstop humor and action that was well-established in the first book, “The Sword of Summer.” As Magnus adjusts to his new realm of existence, the warring gods only make it harder for him to find his footing. The amped-up danger and upward character development grants this installment an impeccable voice, bursting with the humor and heartache Riordan is known for.
I seriously wish we had more than just three books to spend with this cast of characters, because they’re really something special — especially now that Alex Fierro, the first ever genderfluid character to grace the pages of a bestselling young adult series, has arrived.
As a reader, I absolutely love exploring Riordan’s worlds. He’s most famous for the Percy Jackson series, but I’m still thoroughly in love with this Norse-filled adventure. He’s mastered an insanely entertaining style that keeps the humor and heart at the forefront, but with just enough authentic heartbreak to keep it meaningful and real — or as real as it can get in a hotel full of millions of dead Vikings.
Bringing ancient mythology into a modern worldview presents several challenges, but this trilogy is a prime example of effectively giving history an exciting makeover that’s accessible to any modern reader.
I learned so much about Vikings, the Norse pantheon, and their complicated history — without even realizing it. Though Riordan admittedly writes for a young audience, his universal tales of identity, overcoming loss, and heroism are relatable and enjoyable for a reader of any age. The echoes of his story are heard and loved by legions of fans across the globe.
I’m psyched for next October, when this series will conclude with “The Ship of the Dead.” I’m also super sad that the quick journey alongside Magnus and company is already coming to an end! But I have every faith that it’s going to be one heck of an ending. See you next autumn, Valhalla.
The streets of Ketterdam are plagued by crime and debauchery, and no one knows how to control them better than Kaz Brekker.
After Kaz gathers a group of six delinquents off the street, they manage to pull off a harrowing heist, but when the gang is double-crossed at the last instant, they’re forced to raise the stakes by engaging in an elaborate sting operation.
With rivals closing in on the city and a crucial member kidnapped, the group sets to work on their intricate swindles and ploys, and Ketterdam will never be the same again.
Leigh Bardugo’s novel “Crooked Kingdom” is the second and final installment in the Six of Crows duology. Released after a long year of waiting, I’m glad to say the highly anticipated conclusion lived up to all those months of theorizing.
The characters are as cunning as they are likable, and despite their criminal tendencies, the plot is reliant upon their surprisingly genuine motivations and desires.
A lot of work was put into making sure they’re as believable and detailed as possible, because the book itself is solely the story of their masterful moves in a dangerous game. Their added bits of development and humanity contribute much-needed authenticity to an extremely dark and methodical story.
The fate of their friends and city are constantly hovering above them, and the desperation brings them to daring heights — literally.
‘Crooked Kingdom’ is rampant with escapades, thievery and heart-stopping action that brings every member of the gang into contact with their worst fears and darkest nightmares. It’s when they learn to utilize the darkness that they become a force of unstoppable wit and danger.
The entire book, over 500 pages long, consists of the elaborate thefts and scandalous operations the crew concocts. For the most part, this means page-turning excitement; alternately, it was sometimes bordering on tedious.
This is when the enormity of the characters’ importance plays a crucial part in the overall entertainment value of the book.
The heaviness of the plot contrasts splendidly with the easy adoration the characters are worthy recipients of, and it’s their developments and realizations that will stick with me for a long time.
Admittedly, there’s a couple important moments within the story that I feel could have been lengthened and underscored, but they remain undoubtedly effective.
It’s all worth it by the end. Composed of careful crimes leading to a grand finale, this story brings an enormously satisfying conclusion into a terrifying world that rarely sees a smile.
But nothing comes without consequence and the price of their victory is steep. Despite their heartbreak, the deceptively relatable characters leave as better versions of themselves than the criminals they were.
“Crooked Kingdom” delves into the fantastical and the criminal, but at its core remains a deeply universal tale of discovering love and overcoming hatred.
New and old forces unite in the fifth and penultimate installment of Sarah Maas’ epic fantasy book series “Throne of Glass.” Released on Sept. 6, “Empire of Storms” continues the story of a lost queen’s quest to reclaim her birthright.
Aelin Galathynius has spent the past decade hiding from her real identity: the queen of Terrasen.
After her land was overtaken and her family killed, Aelin escaped and created a new life for herself as a ruthless assassin-for-hire. But when her devastating past comes back for her, she takes up the fight against the forces that ruined her family.
After returning at last to her home of Terrasen, Aelin realizes the war has only begun. She needs to gather an army of immense strength and power if she hopes to stand a chance against the demon Erawan and his dark forces that are swarming the continent.
But as harrowing realities of her heritage and role in a war that has been prophesied for centuries are revealed, Aelin and her new court must figure out a way to bring light back into the land — without extinguishing their own.
I’d been eagerly anticipating this installment for months. After reading the titular first book of the “Throne of Glass” series about a year ago, I liked each consecutive installment just a little more than the last.
The fifth book, “Empire of Storms,” was undoubtedly a well-written and engaging piece that continued the series’s upward development. The stakes were raised incredibly high, and for the most part, the characters underwent development that I found both meaningful and authentic.
Right off the bat, the band of main characters is subject to countless onslaughts of monstrous attacks and intricate power-plays, and their reactions and resolutions demonstrate their heightened maturity and the grueling effects the war has had on them all. Every chapter makes it abundantly clear that the end is nigh, and neither the characters nor the readers get a moment to rest. Their adversary Erawan is a seemingly insurmountable being that is an ancient as the world itself, and standing against him is as important as it is unlikely.
Maas finds a way to interweave multiple storylines, perspectives, and characters into a fascinating tale of transforming unimaginable loss into brilliant hope for a new future. “The world will be saved and remade by the dreamers,” Aelin promises. This is the sentiment that carries the underlying theme of the entire series, and no book better showcases it than “Empire of Storms.”
However, I can’t quite give it a perfect rating. The beginning and end were extremely strong; the middle was certainly good, but lagged in a couple parts, and I found myself confused about the plot every now and then. Regardless, I am excited and intrigued to see how this epic war resolves in the sixth and final installment, slated to come out next year.
Two years ago, Mercer Singers performed at a local high school. In the audience, Mickey Brooks watched and listened, and she was immediately hooked.
As a current freshman at Mercer’s Townsend School of Music, Brooks now has a spot among the Mercer Singers vocal ensemble, where she rehearses four times a week.
“There is definitely a high standard here,” Brooks wrote in an email, “and I want to push myself beyond it.”
However, Brooks’ passion for singing did not begin with hearing Mercer Singers. Her life had already been marked and defined by music.
After watching The Phantom of the Opera in third grade, she immediately joined chorus. Brooks said that she would “sing anything on the radio” and soon realized she was meant to be a singer.
“Singing felt more natural than even talking,” Brooks said. “It felt almost instinctual.”
After just one choir rehearsal, she was sold. She continued heavily involving herself with choir, and took up private vocal lessons a few years ago.
After hearing Mercer Singers, Brooks knew Mercer University was the next step in her musical career.
“The department is amazing,” Brooks said, and “everyone is not only talented, but dedicated.”
She found that the determination and perseverance the music department thrived on matched her own, and she threw herself into her studies right from her first day.
Brooks is working on four solo pieces and was recently cast in an opera. Though the opera will be her first theatrical production, Brooks said she is excited “to get [her] feet wet” and hopes the show will “lead to more theater opportunities in the future.”
For now, Brooks’ main priority is to “nail [her] vocal technique.” She also hopes to perform at local churches and other venues and ultimately aims to perform and conduct on bigger stages.
In high school, Brooks got the chance to choose a piece of music, teach it to 60 teenagers and conduct them in a live performance. Though she admits it was terrifying at first, she gradually learned to love the teaching process as she noticed her students enjoying the music.
Before the performance, the nerves came back, but once the song began, Brooks remembers “it was like [she] had stepped into the eye of a hurricane.” The next moment, the audience was applauding.
“That experience made me want to be a choral director,” Brooks wrote.
Currently, she’s majoring in music education, but she is also considering a degree in vocal performance. She plans to become a high school choir director before possibly going back to school for a master’s degree and teaching at a collegiate level. Through it all, she wants to keep performing and traveling.
When asked what her favorite part about the rehearsal and performance process was, Brooks said it’s more about the way singing feels. She struggled to describe it and knows “every singer feels it, but it’s completely different from person to person.” It’s this indescribable passion that drives Mickey Brooks to work hard and succeed in her musical endeavors. Hers is a career already over a decade in the making, and she has plenty more yet ahead.
“As long as I am onstage for the rest of my life,” Brooks said, “I’ll be happier than I could ever dream.”