KSU teaming up for 2016 athletics


KENNESAW, Ga. — Kennesaw State University has been a school on the rise in Georgia, but it has struggled with attendance at athletic events.

Brandy Chenoweth, KSU director of marketing and fan experience, has a lot of hope and ideas that will help Kennesaw State improve in those areas for the upcoming athletics’ season.

“Football for us, in year two, is a lot of focusing our communication strategy,” Chenoweth said. “Part of marketing is fan experience and making sure our fans understand all of the information.

Brandy Chenoweth (Photo by Noah Clark)

“That was the challenge last year,” she said. “We were just throwing so much information at people, we couldn’t really focus on specific things, and we didn’t know what our problem areas were.”

Kennesaw State University will has over 30,000 students as of fall 2016. Last year, the Owls sold out every football game of the season, but the stadium still had trouble filling up.

Chenoweth has looked to team up with off-campus housings to help promote the upcoming season.

“We are really excited to work with KSU,” said Daniel Vehar, manager of sales and marketing at Stadium Village apartments. “The athletic program at KSU is working really hard to try and improve fan experience and attendance, and, as an alum, we are excited that they even thought of us to help out in anyway.”

While focusing mainly on football, Chenoweth plans to donate hang tags for the bedroom doors to all the off-campus student housing properties in the area. The hang tags will have schedules printed on them along with magnets for every refrigerator in the apartments.

This is to encourage students and fans to become more engaged in the other fall sports.

“From a marketing strategy here, we really work on this assumption that everything has a trickle-down effect,” Chenoweth said. “We know that most of our fans are most interested in football, so we focus on that first and then hopefully it will trickle down to basketball and baseball.”

After a successful 5-1 start to its very first year, KSU had high hopes for the rest for its inaugural football season. However, the Owls dropped their last three games to fall to 6-5 on the year. Even with the early on-field success, the athletic department still could not fill up the stadium after the home opener.

Chenoweth believes that they have learned from the mistakes of last year, and she is optimistic that they can figure out all the issues that caused the lack of attendance at games.

“One thing I’ve learned in my previous experience is that winning fixes mostly everything,” Chenoweth said. “Those seats will fill up a lot quicker and more often when you have something to cheer for.

“I always joke that we are kind of everybody’s second favorite team, and that’s the hardest part right now,” she said. “That pride for Kennesaw didn’t exist, and now it’s starting to exist.”

Young owls soar to success with Ignition leaders


KENNESAW, Ga. — Kennesaw State University’s Ignition leaders brought a new meaning to freshman orientation.

Freshman orientation started at the end of May and goes through the beginning of August. It’s a program designed to ensure a successful transition from high school to college.

Incoming freshman come from all over Georgia, the United States and sometimes different countries.

Alexander Stolz is a KSU freshman this fall, and he plans to major in political science. Stolz is originally from Miass, Russia, but he moved to Elijay when he was 4 years old.

“My parents didn’t want to let go when my older siblings went to college,” Stolz said. “But, with me, they are getting used to it.”

During orientation, freshman take ID pictures, go on tours of the campus and housing, eat at the Commons, attend the Student Organizations Activities and Resources Fair, go to breakout sessions, and select their classes for the fall semester.

Ignition leaders put a lot into freshman orientation, ensuring everyone that the transition will be smooth.

Ignition leaders at KSU (Photo by Ciara Hodges)

The Ignition leaders are hand-selected by Donald Coleman, director of orientation programs, and the rest of his team. They do their best to select the best students to represent Kennesaw State University well.

Orientation is the first formal contact the freshmen have with Kennesaw State University, so it needs to reflect the best qualities about the school to help ensure freshmen they’ve made the best decision in attending the university.

“KSU pride is the first thing that we look for when recruiting Ignition leaders,” Coleman said. “The recruitment process involves an individual interview and a group interview.”

Kristan Huey, an Ignition leader, was inspired by her former Ignition leader when she came to freshmen orientation.

“I have a sense of pride when I’m sharing school spirit,” Huey said. “My first choice was University of Alabama.”

The vigorous screening process to select Ignition leaders helps showcase the diversity at Kennesaw State University.

Lauren Young attended the orientation and learned some things that she could take away with her. Young plans to study criminal justice.

“This orientation helped me realize that I made the right choice by attending KSU,” Young said.

The SOAR Fair showcased different organizations that Kennesaw State University has to offer, from sorority and fraternity life to International Student Association and everything in between.

The SOAR Fair had a booth for every interest and was a good way to get plugged in before the fall semester.

The Commons is always the students’ favorite part of the day by a landslide. Incoming freshman and their parents finally get to eat the way Owls do with cuisine from local farms to global dishes.

Orientation at KSU begun at 8 a.m. and ended at 5 p.m. This year’s orientation was held Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

The Ignition leaders ease the gap between high school to college, helping incoming freshmen better navigate Kennesaw State University before starting their fall semester.

KSU professor finds KKK flier in yard


KENNESAW, Ga. — The Ku Klux Klan still exists in the South, and the white supremacist group has made its presence known recently by leaving fliers in yards of a Douglas County neighborhood, including the yard of a Kennesaw State University professor.

The organization, which started back in 1866, is active today. The Klan is just one piece of evidence that racism still exists in the United States.

“I was in shock,” said KSU professor Tenisha Bell when she found fliers for the KKK in her yard. “I couldn’t believe that in 2016 that the KKK is still in existence, that people are still that ignorant to be stuck in such an angry, nasty, racist mindset, that they are still functioning as an organization totally shocked me.”

Tenisha Bell (left) and Aunjanue Ellis in front of Capitol Hill for the “Take It Down Rally” (Photo by Amber Patton)

In 2014, the FBI reported that 3,081 hate crimes were reported to be racially motivated. Of those hate crimes, 63.5 percent were anti-black or against African-Americans.

The KKK is designated as a white supremacy extremist domestic terrorism organization, and the FBI has been actively looking into the group and its members since 1918.

Georgia has been one of the few states that does not have strict hate crime laws. In the South, tensions between races can still run high.

This racial tension is why actress Aunjanue Ellis teamed up with attorney Carlos Moore to bring down one of the last standing forms of racism in the country. They’re fighting to get Mississippi to stop flying the Confederate flag with their “Take It Down Rally” in Washington, D.C. June 14, 2016.

Ellis believes this issue is not just a Southern issue, but that it takes place everywhere and has become a form of terrorism.

“In 2015 alone, American terrorists used the Confederate flag as a marching order to shoot and kill churchgoers, shoot at protesters and throw a bomb into a Wal-Mart in Tupelo,” Ellis said. “This is not just racism. This is terrorism.”

Ellis is making it her mission to make the Confederate flag, racism and hatred in general obsolete in an effort to end KKK fliers from ever being distributed in yards in Georgia or any other place again.

Summer-related injuries and deaths are avoidable


KENNESAW, Ga. — This summer is in its waking moments, so families are making their last-minute trips to pools, waterparks and beaches.

Summer is the time for fun and relaxation but is also the time when many water-related injuries and deaths occur.

Water-related incidents

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States with an average of 10 drowning fatalities per day. One in five drownings that occur happen to children under the age of 14 years old.

“The most common type of drowning we see is when parents are having conversations in the water and not paying attention to their child,” said Mari Shoji, a lifeguard instructor at the Ed Isakson Alpharetta YMCA. “It only takes a second for a child to slip under the waters surface after letting go from the wall or a noodle.”

Even children who know how to swim should still be supervised and never be allowed to swim alone.

Parents often think that, if the child knows how to swim, then he or she should be fine. That isn’t necessarily the case in many situations and creates a false sense of security.

“After a long winter when most children don’t spend any time in a pool, it’s not uncommon for their swimming skills to diminish,” said Lauren Dreyer, a swim instructor at Ed Isakson Alpharetta YMCA. “It’s never a bad idea to enroll your child in swim lessons before the summer begins to brush up on their skills and to prepare them for all the time that they’ll be spending in the water, whether it’s at their neighborhood pool or the lake or beach.”

According to Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine in 2009, swim lessons can help reduce kids from drowning by 88 percent.

Drowning isn’t the only thing to be concerned about when visiting the pool or beach.

Drinking water

Staying hydrated is also very important, especially during the hottest part of the days during the summer.

“At least once a month, we have to alert EMS because a patron wasn’t adequately hydrated while laying out in the sun all day,” said Shoji. “Usually, they stand up and begin feeling weak, lightheaded and exhibit a shortness of breath.

“In many cases they are able to alert a lifeguard and are able to get the help and attention that they need, but — unfortunately in some cases — they faint and fall down immediately after getting up.”

Blocking the sun

Along with staying hydrated while at the pool, sunscreen should never be left at home.

Sunscreen with an SPF of 30 should be the bare minimum and should be applied every two hours while outside. This will ensure you are protected from the suns harmful UV rays, even while jumping in and out of the water.

Shoji had a few other recommendations for people who find themselves outside by the pool during the summer.

“Hats and sunglasses are always a good idea but also try to limit the amount of time by the pool between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. as this is when the UV rays are at its strongest,” she said. “Swim shirts are also not a bad idea for younger children and infants.”

Having fun is key to a great summer, but it shouldn’t be had without precautions.

90-day vegan diet changes lives


CHATTAHOOCHEE HILLS, Ga. — Karen Civil has just finished out her 90-day vegan diet, which is a diet devoid of fish, meat or poultry, as well as meat byproducts.

She successfully transitioned — with no warning — from a full-on meat eater to a meatless madame. She admitted that willpower is what brought her through.

“The first week was definitely hard because it was kind of like I never wanted to be that person that was being too picky or reading labels,” Civil said. “I had to do my research. I was definitely hungry. It has its good sides and bad sides.”

She tells a story about how her dad was taken back about her new diet. When she got sick, he suggested she eat steak and macaroni and cheese so she could feel better.

But Civil didn’t give in to the temptation by taking his advice.

Locals go green with fresh produce delivery service

“Dad, a clogged artery is not going to fix what I have,” she tells him. “We all watched ‘Soul Food.’ We saw how that movie ended. As much as nobody wants to talk about the elephant in the room, understand that she died from diabetes.”

Civil’s healthy lifestyle journey came with a benefit that can make one who’s suffering through a weight loss diet reconsider.

She lost more than 30 pounds, though she said it had more do with her getting healthier.

Outside of her vegan friends, Civil was able to get more motivation to stay the course of her 90-day period with the help of apps like Pinterest and Instagram.

“Technology makes things easier,” she said. “Because you have so many apps and you have so many things that tell you where to eat.”

Avoiding the consumption of meat and its byproducts has recently built an increase in the availability of plant-based dining options since millions of adults in the U.S. are currently not eating fish, meat or poultry. Those same individuals are less likely to have heart disease, cancer or Type 2 diabetes.

The American Heart Association reports that 49 percent of women from age 20 and over have cardiovascular disease, and only 1 in 5 are aware of their signs and symptoms of a heart attack.