Bryant Carter

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UNC Charlotte’s annual Airband show brings hundreds of visiting spectators to Greek Week


Photos by Makeedah Baker
Fourteen competing Greek fraternities and sororities performed Friday night in UNC Charlotte’s Halton Arena. The event, which is organized by the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, was open to the public. Friends, family and alumni rooted for their favorite dancers. Greeks watching in the stands cheered on their chapters, waved their house letters and screamed in support.

Sororities and fraternities performed several choreographed, dance themes ranging from Charlie’s Angels, Alice in Wonderland, to Toy Story and the Evolution of Miley Cyrus. In the end, Sigma Phi Epsilon won by doing a Finding Nemo routine, and Chi Omega won with their haunted mansion theme.

Visitors say they enjoyed Airband, and thought all the dances were exciting. Jackie Saya and Kacey Lay said this was their fourth Airband. Both are graduated sorority members, who came to show love to their sisters.

Saya was in Zeta Tau Alpha and danced in Airband for three years. She said she had a good time cheering on her sorority.

“I think it was good, there’s more fraternities and sororities this year,” Saya said.

Lay, who was part of Chi Omega, said she also had a great time.

“I loved it!” said Lay. “I didn’t really have a team, I was just coming to watch.”

Dancers said they love the experience of being in Airband.

Lara Delfino of Zeta Tau Alpha said she was happy with her performance. Her sorority tied for second and she had fun dancing.

This was Delfino’s second Airband. For her, it’s an amazing experience to share with her sisters.

“It goes by so fast, and you don’t realize what you’re doing because you’re so nervous, but then when you get off you want to do it all over again,” she said.

Even those that didn’t do well enjoyed Airband. Lance Graham Allen from Kappa Sigma said although his frat didn’t place this year it’s always fun to perform.

“It’s cool, you just get a big adrenaline rush, so, yeah, it’s fun!” Allen said.

Nicole Pacitti of Chi Omega said this was her third year performing. She was excited that Chi Omega could win first place for a second time.

“It feels good, it feels awesome,” Pacitti said.

Pacitti said winning Airband took a lot of hard work. For over a month, she practiced late into the night with her sisters, but she loves it because she loves Chi Omega.

“I wanted to join Chi O to find a sisterhood and girls I knew would have my back throughout all my college years, and just find the best friends and sisters that I always wanted,” she said.

Venson Nunnaley, from Sigma Phi Epsilon, said it feels great that his brothers won Airband for a second year, especially now that he’s graduating.

Nunnaley said Airband was the defining moment that motivated him to succeed in his fraternity. It made him realize how hard work can pay off.

“Regardless of how many times I’m up there, you’re still getting butterflies, your heart’s still racing, but as soon as the music hits it’s automatic,” Nunnaley said. “It really shows that the more practice, you put time in, you put effort into it then you’re going to be successful…”

UNC Charlotte professors share love of education through community engagement

Dr. Jürgen Buchenau, professor and chair of UNC Charlotte’s Department of History, shares his love of learning with the Charlotte community in a series of intellectual salons sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

The salon program, which is supervised by Nancy Gutierrez, Dean of the college, has operated since 2013. These salons are 50, to 60 minute community lectures followed by half hour discussions. Buchenau said lectures are held after 5 p.m. at a salon host’s private home, and are given by liberal arts professors.

Salons are organized by matching interested host families with professors. Citizens can request a specific lecture be held at their home, or professors can suggest a lecture series to Dean Gutierrez.

Lectures are voluntarily, and speakers aren’t compensated. However; for Buchenau and other professors, teaching for the sake of knowledge is payment enough.

“We like to teach for the sake of teaching,” said Buchenau. “I don’t think that the university is there to prepare people for a specific career, I think the university is here first and foremost to train your mind.”

Buchenau said an undergraduate education should emphasize critical thinking skills, and turn people into lifelong learners. It was one man’s long devotion to learning which resulted in the program’s foundation.

The program grew out of a private tutoring session Buchenau had with and elderly South Park gentleman named Henry Pharr. According to the Charlotte Observer, Pharr was a retired real estate attorney who was unable to attend graduate school because of poor health.

Pharr’s friend, William ‘Twig’ Branch, asked Buchenau to help Pharr find a tutor, and Buchenau volunteered to tutor Pharr himself.

When Pharr began inviting friends to sit in on Buchenau’s sessions, and it soon became the first of a series of lectures.

Since then, Buchenau said other professors have lectured at the salons. David Goldfield and Erica Edwards of the History department have both lectured, and John David Smith will speak next fall. James Tabor from religious studies also has a salon.

A salon audience is very different from your typical classroom. Like the Pharr’s, salon hosts are typically elderly, affluent Charlotte citizens. Buchenau said these older ‘students’ tend to be more alert listeners.

“I know their attention span is longer than the one of younger people because they’re not constantly on their electronics, said Buchenau. “ I also know that they’ve lived through about half of the stuff I’m talking about.”

Most salon members were born before the Cold War, and even served in the Vietnam War. They already relate to the history Buchenau teaches his students.

Buchenau said he has to be more provocative when lecturing a salon. He might begin one by saying that he thinks the Soviet Union didn’t cause the Cold War, but the United States was more responsible.

“With older people there are different buttons I can push…” he said. “ With our guys, with the younger generation they’re other issues they think are more provocative and interesting.”

Buchenau said it’s gratifying to lecture to an audience so interested in learning, and is glad to share something he’s excited and passionate about.

He hopes the salons will bring the college, and the university, much needed friends and potential benefactors.

His friendship with Henry Pharr lead to the creation of the Buchenau-Pharr Research Scholarship; which helps graduate students finance historical research. He said now that the state legislator keeps cutting higher education, all departments need private support.

Buchenau hopes the salons can give influential Charlotte residents personal experiences with UNC Charlotte professors, which would benefit the university.

“It could influence leaders in Charlotte to feel that UNC Charlotte is a more important asset than they feel now,” Buchenau said. “I think the nine miles that separate us from uptown are very far. And that a lot of people in Charlotte are not aware of what we’re doing up here.”

CAB’s annual Holi Moli attracts crowd of 800


Photos by Linnea Stoops & Makeedah Baker.

 

UNC Charlotte students welcomed spring with an explosion of colors and laughter during the fourth annual Holi Moli festival.

Hundreds of students gathered on the campus front field to join in the festivities. The spring event, which is sponsored by Campus Activities Board (CAB), was held this year on March 24. Based on the Indian spring festival, Holi, the event celebrates the arrival of the spring season, and absolution. Students forgave and forgot past wrongs by joyfully splashing themselves with colored powder and water under blasting American and Indian pop music.

Over the years, word of mouth and promotion have allowed the event to spread. Dara Walker, an athletic training student, said this was her third time at the event, and it was even greater than before.

“It’s way bigger, there’s way bigger turnout,” Walker said. “Actually, I told all my friends to come.”

One of Walker’s friends, Reatta Smith, said the festival was a new experience for her. “It’s different,” Smith said. “I didn’t come last year, so this year this is a lot, this is a lot going on!”

Helen Murillo, a UNC Charlotte Sophomore, said she learned about the event after being informed by a CAB member in her chemistry class. She brought her children and boyfriend along and said they loved it.

“Oh my gosh it was fun,” Murillo said. “And just being able to bring the kids out, it’s more of like a family event versus just adults.”

Senior students Amber Monroe and Mariah Andrews enjoyed the event for the first time. Andrews brought Monroe after friends told her about it. Both students said they liked the environment. Monroe encourages more people to come, but cautions safety when powder bombing.

“It got in my eye a little bit, it did,” Monroe said. “Wear Shades!”

CAB graduate assistant Allie Mills, said the event doubled to around 800 people. Although it’s her first Holi Moli, she’s happy that students liked it.

“I’m happy if they’re happy, and they seem happy,” Mills said.

CAB Vice President, Tikayla Downing said this year’s Holi Moli’s went well, and was glad to have so many people come. She said the event allows students to dive into another culture, and is something they look forward to.

“Every year our phone is blowing up with people with questions, ‘what do they need to do? Do they need to bring their own powder?’” Downing said. “But we provide everything they need, they just need to come out and bring some clothes if they don’t mind getting a little dirty.”