By Cathy Cox, Guest Contribution
Regrettably, the Staff Opinion piece in the recent issue of the Enotah Echoes contained a number of factual errors that painted an overall unjustified picture of YHC’s decision to construct new student apartments.
First, the article suggested students had no input into the decision to build apartments. In fact, students were consulted in surveys prior to design and construction of the apartments to gain a clearer insight into what students desired in a new addition to the residential options available on campus – and the units were designed with that feedback in mind.
Secondly, the article suggested that the College acted extravagantly, and wastefully, in putting granite countertops in the new apartments — but no one from the newspaper ever asked any College official to confirm this. The truth is that due to an anomaly in the commodities market in Georgia at the time of procurement for the Senior Village project, granite countertops ended up being approximately 25% less expensive than the Avonite countertops that were included in the Enotah Hall project (and that are included in long-term focused student housing projects all over the country).
The granite countertops avoid significant and costly maintenance issues that student housing facilities around the country face when forced to use solid surface or plastic laminate surfaces. These types of surfaces require regular replacement, invoke end user complaints, and cause the depletion of project’s reserve funds, which YHC will be able to use to maintain and enhance other parts of the project. Additionally, the granite countertops allowed YHC to use a very natural product, which is line with the overall campus commitment to sustainability in its new facilities.
Lastly, the bathroom vanities in the project will also be granite, in lieu of cultured marble (as in Enotah), due to the same decrease in commodity cost, which provides a significantly greater long-term focus on maintenance and overall cost to students for the project. In generally, granite countertops are an investment that most institutions regret not making and the market realities allowed YHC to capitalize on its ability to include these in the project.
The article also said Winship is being closed because it is old and dated, but the fact is that Winship is only being closed because it is in the preferred location, along with the old gym/pool building, for construction of the new Campus Center which we hope will begin before the end of this year. The Campus Center will provide greatly expanded dining facilities for the campus, along with a new three-story library and all new student center to serve the entire campus.
We have tried to provide housing options for YHC students at a variety of price points, while adding new options that offer upperclassmen more privacy, independence and some separation from other residential halls on campus – all in response to student requests. We have also designed the new Campus Center, library and student center with student requests in mind – and it will provide far more group study spaces (indoor and outdoor), advanced technology, student organization work and meetings spaces, student government chambers, dining space that doubles the size of the campus restaurant, convenience store and café, 350-seat banquet room, and much, much more.
I hope that future articles concerning campus construction projects will rely on a more accurate recitation of the facts – I’m always available to get the right information to you!
Thanks for letting me add this clarification –
By Delta Lambda, Guest Contribution
“Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.”
As another academic year ends, the natural habit of students and faculty alike is to reflect upon the past year. This time of reminiscing upon memories, events, successes, failures, and lessons-learned from the past year serves as a tool for analyzing the effects of our decisions and molding our mindsets as people. For the former members of the now disbanded Delta Lambda, this year has definitely been a memorable one. To be part of one of the largest scandals during a semester is not a pleasant experience. Our actions sent out shockwaves, and the waters are only now beginning finally to settle. Our mission since being discovered has been “community restoration.” How do we as a student body, as a communal family, begin to restore such negative effects?
Much like ourselves, these “effects” are not only the reactions to our punishment but the deeply rooted ideals held by many of the students, here. Most Young Harris College students will agree that a sense of entitlement is easily fostered. Most students feel like this campus is their home and that they may act according to their own wishes. This thinking is not malicious. On the contrary, feeling “at home” here in the Enchanted Valley seems to be a beneficial effect of a loving campus. The problem lies when this sense of comfort and “at home” morphs into unquestioned entitlement, when we begin to act against established rules out of some sense of superiority.
So what have the former members of the now disbanded Delta Lambda learned from this year’s reflection? We have learned that acting without thinking can be devastating. We have learned that forgiveness can be instant but restoration is ongoing and difficult. We have learned that the actions of a few can speak for an entire group and that relationships are exceptionally hard to repair when damaged. Out of all the things we have learned, the most important by far is this: every person is solely responsible for his/her own actions.
So where do we stand now? Each of us is in a very different place after this year. We have attempted to restore this community from the effects of our actions and have strived towards our goals. However, there is still work to be done. As the semester ends and we all part ways, we can only extend advice and wisdom that we have learned through tears, meetings, struggles, hours of reflection, and prayer:
Live with integrity and remember that you alone are responsible for the decisions you make, yet—consciously or not—your decisions affect more than just you.
Learned to rise again and continue in the face of adversity and shame.
Everyone will face obstacles at some point, the difference is in how we deal with the troubles we encounter.
Learn to forgive others and yourself and persevering despite the odds is a valuable lesson for everyone.
These lessons sharpen our vision of this past year and guide our gaze into the future.
“But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform the body of our humiliation so that it may be conformed to the body of his glory . . . .“
By Adam Neal, Guest Contributor
I would like to offer an alternative, and perhaps more worldly, view on the recent editorial piece about the poor quality of the food services at Young Harris. I, for one, am puzzled and rather exhausted by the grumbling dissent of YHC students over the perceived lack of satisfying meals offered by the cafeteria.
Don’t misunderstand; I was a college student once. I recognize how “en vogue” it can be to complain en masse about cafeteria style dining and bemoan the apparent necessity to pursue food off campus at restaurants. I was there once as well, and believe me when I say that the cafeteria when I was in college pales in comparison to YHC’s.
However, after being “liberated” from the cafeteria my junior year of college and living in an apartment, I thought it was going to be great. I could cook my own food, what I wanted, when I wanted, and how I wanted. There was only one problem: that meant that I actually had to cook.
It isn’t that I don’t like to cook, I do. Rather, the issue is that in order to cook, many things have to occur: grocery runs, cleaning pots and pans, doing dishes, keeping up with the labors of a working kitchen, taking the time to cook and so on. Even further, while the meal plans always seemed high, at least they weren’t actively coming out of my pocket, which the grocery runs were.
You might be surprised to learn that while you enjoy complaining now, you will one day look back on this time as ‘the good ole days’ when food was cooked for you, dishes were taken care of, and you didn’t have to keep a grocery list to make sure that you had more than just ramen to eat.
When I started teaching at YHC, I was incredibly grateful for the cafeteria, and my gratitude has only grown with the change of management under Sodexo.
Whenever I eat in the cafeteria, I can always find something not only worth eating, but often truly satisfying and flavorful. I am frankly disappointed in the sentiments of the previous submission that “the food should be cooked thoroughly… and tastefully prepared” which I find to be supremely sophomoric and inconsistent with my experience.
While I may come across a dish from time to time that I am personally not very interested in, I can usually discern this before putting it on my plate, and regardless there is always something else satisfying to be found.
So, the next time that you are eating a piece of meatloaf that doesn’t live up to the standards of “it’s not my grandmother’s meatloaf,” ask yourself how much time, money, and energy it would have taken to procure said meatloaf on your own, not to mention all the extra work required such as making grocery runs, cleaning up, doing dishes, and so forth.
My advice, dearest students: enjoy it while you have it.
With construction for the Senior Village underway on the main campus, and plans for additional construction being discussed, it is safe to say that change and expansion is an expected part of Young Harris College’s transformation into a four-year school.
However, with expansion comes questions about safety.
As facilities and resources pour over into across-the-street buildings and classrooms, there is concern for student safety, especially after last week’s unfortunate incident involving a student being hit by a truck on highway 76.
Next year, YHC hopes to enroll the largest class of freshman in the college’s history.
With the Young Harris Motel as a rumored housing option, we would be hard-pressed to find parents willing to send their child off to college where their safety is questionable. As students we are entitled to safety on campus.
The fact that something like this happened on campus makes students ponder the chances of something like this occurring a second time.
If necessary steps are not taken to ensure that something of this caliber does not happen again, history will repeat itself.
Far too many students, and even professors, have complained about the unruly traffic that refuses to stop for pedestrians, even though it is Georgia state law that oncoming traffic yields to pedestrians.
Even if a pedestrian does look both ways, he or she must hurry across the street before the next vehicle zooms past them.
Installing a cross walk at a four-way stoplight would help appease the traffic in the area where students are crossing the street to and from their classes.
Or, if the installation of four-way stoplight is too expensive, having a squad car stationed during the early morning and afternoon hours when traffic is the most congested would also help students and professors feel safer when crossing the street.
In doing either of these options,passing traffic will not have to question whether or not they have enough time to stop.
In doing so, this will also allow students to feel safe about crossing the street in order to arrive to classes in a timely manner.
Regardless of which option is chosen, one cannot deny that something must be done to make highway 76 a safe place for students or other pedestrians wishing to cross the street.
Attending class or leaving from class should not result in a potentially life-threatening situation.
As a college, there should be an image that we should be proud to uphold. An image of safety first, excellent education and concern with those individuals that make the college what it is: the students.
Guest Contribution, Artie Van Why
In 1972, I was a freshman at a Christian college. I was fairly new in my faith. And I was gay. My four years there I lived with that secret, and a fear that I was going to hell, pleading with God to change me; afraid to tell anyone.
We are assuring our gay youth that “it gets better.” And it does. I also want you to know you have choices. You didn’t choose to be gay (just as no one “chooses” to be heterosexual), but you can choose how to live with your sexuality.
You can believe homosexuality is a sin and try to change; on your own, by praying or by entering into an “ex-gay” ministry. I tried all three and, speaking from my personal experience and years of meeting other gay Christians who tried doing the same, I don’t think one can become “ex-gay” any more than one can become an “ex-heterosexual.”
You can believe that it is not a sin to be gay, except when acted upon. I know gay Christians who accept their orientation and choose to live a life of celibacy.
You can marry someone of the opposite sex; concealing your same sex attractions, determined you have it under control. I know gay men and women who have done just that. In each and every case, after what might have been years of suppression, they eventually ended up acting upon their impulses; some leading a double life. Inevitably the lies and secrecy caught up with each of them; revealed either by their own confession or an inappropriate situation they put themselves in. Of all these people I know, each of their marriages, except for one, ended in divorce; the unsuspecting spouse’s life shattered, as well as the children’s.
You can decide to be honest with your future spouse, trusting he or she will be willing to partner in your decision to live heterosexually. I know couples who are doing just that. Publicly, they present themselves as a typical heterosexual couple. I don’t know how they conduct themselves in private.
You can choose to reexamine the scriptures that are used against homosexuals and decide if they are speaking out against same sex attraction as we know it today. You can choose to believe God honors a same sex monogamous committed relationship. You can choose to believe you can be both gay and a Christian.
I, personally, lived through years of struggle and anguish after college; trying everything I could to change. The end result was clinical depression and my own thoughts of suicide.
As the years have passed, I’ve come to trust that God does love and accept me as an openly gay man. I do look at those scriptures in a different light. I believe God sanctions any relationship that is loving, committed and monogamous.
I belong to a United Methodist church in one of the most conservative counties in Pennsylvania; the only openly gay man there. I was welcomed warmly by the pastor and the majority of the congregation. My presence there has generated an open dialogue within the church about homosexuality and the Bible. People have told me that their views on homosexuality have changed because of knowing me; some acknowledging I’m the first gay person, they’re aware of, that they’ve known.
Our church now has an outreach ministry to let the gay community know our doors are open to them. That we not only welcome them, we also affirm them, their committed relationships and the families they are creating. Know that there are churches, and Christians, who will accept you as you are.
If we are to be judged it will be by God. Maybe at that time it won’t be a matter of who was right and who was wrong. Maybe God will look at each of us and ask if we lived our lives being true to who we were. Maybe God will assure us that He’s always loved us even during those times we were told He didn’t.
It does get better. And you do have choices. The decisions you come to are between you and God.
Know that, whatever you decide, there is a place for you at the table.
Artie Van Why
By Georgiana Sampson, Guest Contribution
Take a quick moment to look around you, right now.What do you see? Probably a television, computer or something else that has a microchip and runs on electricity. Some people see this as a good thing, signifying that access to information has exponentially increased along with the mass production and distribution of technological goods. Technology has allowed humanity to dive deep into the ocean, go out among the stars and improve life here on the ground. However, one must pause and reflect on this. Have scientists gone too far?
Every day there are thousands of men and women with college degrees and stockpiles of knowledge that’s hard to even imagine,working feverishly on some doo-dad or gadget designed to make something easier, faster or unnecessary. At the rate that new products are being made, futures like IRobot or The Matrix no longer seem quite so far fetched. The very scientists creating things to make our lives easier are being crushed by the increasing demand for more; and, every time something new comes out, the creators are already designing the next version of it. Human culture, at least in developed countries, has changed to the point where it revolves around technology. It is the center of daily existence for most people. They feel lost without their phone to keep them connected or their iPod to play music for them. All this ease has allowed people to use less of their brain less often. We’re so spoiled by all the gigabytes and terabytes that the greatest computer of all, the one that birthed all the ideas now floating into our homes and pockets is going to waste: our brains.
Example: Digital clocks are quite commonplace now, almost everywhere. A lot of young kids can’t read analogue-faced clocks because they have no idea how. They’ve become so used to digital, the numbers being screamed so blatantly at them that it would be an insult to human intelligence to misread it, that the big hand and little hand mean nothing. Most people are taught how to read a clock in grade school, if not pre-K. So why have teachers stopped? Because all the analogue clocks are being replaced with digital. There’s no need to teach children a skill they’ll probably never use. The same goes for the use of calculators. For upper-level maths and gigantic numbers, it is perfectly acceptable to use a device designed for exactly such a purpose. However, when a person cannot complete simple math problems, such as 6×8,without plugging it in, there’s an issue. What if there isn’t a calculator handy? What will they do then? Flounder, most likely, which wouldn’t happen if they could do it by hand.
It is very true that technology has improved many things, among them the processing and storing of information as well as gaining access to it. Colleges and other institutions used to have entire buildings to house their paper work, now able to be contained in a single hard drive instead. Right along with that, computers have enabled students to use materials from halfway across the world to cite in their research, something impossible for earlier generations.
The list continues, much too long to recount in one sitting. Contrary to saying that technology should be abolished and everyone should become Amish, most people believe that we should simply put a limit on the amount of technology included in our everyday lives along with buckling down and doing some stuff the hard way. Use a calculator in math class? Go ahead and work out a problem by hand first, then check it. This will give your brain exercise, which it probably is in dire need of, and also allow you to be confident in your answer, as well as your ability to get it yourself. A healthy balance of man and machine is needed here, and the scale is just starting to over-balance. It is up to us to even it out again, to exercise the muscle that spawned all the things we now take for granted. If we don’t, it’s quite possible that we’ll be helpless without it, and who wants to be completely dependent on a machine to do everything for them?
By Megan Ray, Guest Contribution
When I read about the controversy over same-sex marriages in newspapers or hear it on the television, I just think to myself, are you serious? What is the big deal? I realize that many people are completely ignorant on the subject and have many misconceptions on what same-sex marriage entails and the restrictions imposed on individual freedoms.
Everyone deserves equal rights and opportunities. This idea of equality is essentially what this country was founded upon. The government is denying same-sex marriages, taking away homosexual’s rights as citizens. America has come a long way from the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and our beliefs have changed dramatically and modernized since then. But, the one aspect that is holding legislators back is religion. Religion has played an important role in the reason why same-sex marriages are not legal.
People argue that same-sex marriage is immoral because the Bible defines marriage as a bond between a man and a woman. America is known for freedom of religion, because it implies freedom from religion. Using the Bible as a primary argument completely shoots down the concept of the first amendment, guaranteeing freedom of religion, assembly, speech and petition. Religion should not come into question regarding marriage, because it is solely based on individuals and his/her rights and beliefs.
“What are called ‘homosexual unions,’ because they do not express full human complementarity and because they are inherently non procreative, cannot be given the status of marriage,” said the Administrative Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2003.
I understand that the Catholic religion does frown upon same-sex unions, but stating that, gays do need respect. However, is it respectful to say you can’t marry a person of the same gender because it’s physically impossible for them to have babies? People have been having children outside of marriage for many years. It is highly hypocritical. I believe it is not a woman’s duty to reproduce solely based on religious implications or because others think it is a woman’s duty to have children. The same can be substituted for same-sex marriages.
In order to legalize same-sex marriage, everyone needs to have an open mind. Discrimination based on sexual orientation can only lead to more conflicts. The recent tragedy with the teens who committed suicide because of anti-gay bullying is proof of this ignorance. Everyone should make a resolution to lobby for equal rights and to stop discrimination against gays. America will be a much happier and peaceful place and once again called the land of opportunity.