Eden Creamer

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Eden Creamer was the Editor-in-Chief for the Niner Times from May 2013 through April 2015. She graduated from UNC Charlotte in May 2015, receiving her degree in Communication Studies with minors in English, Journalism and Women's Studies. She now does freelance proofing, copywriting and design in the Charlotte area, and can be reached at edencreamer@gmail.com

Annual Campus Safety Walk gives students opportunity to have a hand in campus safety

The annual UNC Charlotte Campus Safety Walk is tonight, Tuesday, Nov. 19 at 5:30 p.m. The walk will begin from the Student Government and Organizations Complex on the second floor of the Student Union.

The purpose of the walk is to search the campus for areas that pose threats to the safety of students, faculty and staff. All participants will be broken up into groups and asked to walk specific areas of campus with members of campus police and Facilities Management. Areas of concern, such as those with dim lighting, broken sidewalks, etc., will be taken note of. A compiled list of problem areas will be provided to Facilities Management, who then will work with the Student Government Association to determine the best remedy for the issues.

All students, staff and faculty are encouraged to participate in the walk.

Information available in annual security report shows progress made by campus police department

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Based on statistics available in the 2013 Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, produced by UNC Charlotte’s Police and Public Safety annually, the university has seen a dramatic increase in the amount of alcohol and drug violations on campus from 2011 to 2012.

This increase in violation arrests is not telling of an increase in on-campus delinquency, according to Lt. Shawn Smith, but is instead representative of more focused efforts by campus police.

“It gives you a basic picture of the crimes that have occurred on and around campus, but more importantly it gives you information about how to be safe on campus or if you were a victim of a crime, what steps to take,” he said. “It also gives you a snapshot of what kind of safety protocols are happening at the university.”

The Annual Security Report is produced annually due to a federal law passed in 1990, the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Police and Campus Crime Statistics Act.

This act requires universities that receive federal funding and financial assistance to provide timely information regarding crime and safety on-campus, as responded to by campus police.

The annual report also includes information regarding crime prevention and provides tips to help students proactively insure his or her own safety while on or near campus.

This information is made public and can be used to look at change over time in the safety of campus and the work done by the university policing force.

According to the overview provided in the 2013 report, “The territorial jurisdiction of our Campus Police Officers includes all property owned or leased by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and that portion of any public road or highway passing through university property and immediately adjoining it.”

All incidents reported and responded to in this jurisdiction are included in the annual report.

Officers are also able to make arrests outside of the university jurisdiction, when, according to the overview, “the suspect has committed a criminal offense within [university jurisdiction] but has just fled from that territory.”

In 2012, 98 arrests were made by campus police regarding alcohol violations. Sixty-six of these arrests were made in on-campus residential facilities.

This is a 1,300 percent increase from the seven arrested by campus police in 2010 for the same violations.

Arrests on drug violations increased from 21 in 2010 to 79 is 2012, a 276 percent increase.

“The reason that there is such a discrepancy in the numbers from 2011 to 2012 is that Chief [Jeffrey] Baker began a process where if we find a student who has alcohol or drugs, they are issued both a campus appearance ticket and a state citation,” said Smith.

“That is to ensure that the student gets in front of the Dean of Students Office and ensure that they can be put into whatever program best fits them in terms of alcohol abuse or drug abuse counseling programs. Then the state citation is to ensure that they are held accountable for their actions.”

While efforts by campus police have shown increases in the amount of alcohol and drug related arrests, increases in other offenses may point to increased awareness of the university’s student body.

Reported forcible sex offenses in 2012 increased 150 percent from those reported in 2011, jumping from two to five reported offenses.

The increase in offenses, according to Smith, may not be telling of less safety on or around campus, but instead suggest that the student body is more in control of their own safety.

Resources that have been made available by the university for years are now becoming put to use by victims of forcibly sex offenses in ways that previous victims did not use them.

“We’re just getting a better report of the incidents that are happening on campus. We’re actually being informed that it’s happened, as opposed to before when the victim would just withdraw and not let anyone know,” said Smith.

“We’ve made it a concerted effort to train our campus security authorities … that if someone comes to them and tells them that they have been assaulted or that something has happened, then they are required by law to report that to us and they should encourage that person to come forward and report that issue so it can be investigated.”

Information regarding domestic violence offenses, dating violence and stalking is missing from the 2013 annual report. Federal law has required statistics on these offenses to be collected in 2013 and included in the 2014 Annual Security Report.

Smith expects the numbers for dating violence will show crimes happening on campus that normally wouldn’t be included in the annual report due to the specifics of an incident.

“I anticipate that you’ll see quite a few domestic violence and dating violence cases that will be checked off in those boxes due to the fact that currently those are simple assault or assault on a female. Those typically aren’t counted in the Clery Report because, to have an aggravated assault, you have to have a matter of life or death.

Also beginning with 2013, information regarding hate crime will include the categories of “national origin” and “gender identity.” In 2012, no hate crimes were reported on campus.

The report also backs up claims made by the campus police department regarding a decrease in dangerous criminal activity in recent years. In 2010, 109 burglaries were investigated by campus police, while in 2012 only 43 were investigated.

Burglaries are categorized as thefts that require illegally entering a location and taking another individual’s items.

This is different from larcenies, which are generally when a suspect takes an individual’s property that was left unsecured and unattended.

Larcenies are not included in the security report, however information from the daily crime logs provided by UNC Charlotte campus police show the frequency of on-campus larcenies. Twenty-eight larcenies were reported by campus police during October 2013.

“Of course our biggest issue is the larceny from buildings or simple crimes of opportunity. If we can do anything, it’s important to let the campus community know to maintain security of their items at all times. That will really push our crime rate down further,” said Smith.

Overall, says Smith, the report shows the improvements of the Police and Public Safety Department over the past few years. Increased efforts from officers and new initiatives started by Chief Baker have helped increase safety on campus for students, faculty and staff.

“We’ve had a little bit of a rise [in crime] but statistically it’s level. We’ve worked real hard with the implementation of the Community Oriented Police officers who focus on the academic buildings to go out there and be visible to the public and then our direct patrols to the parking lots,” said Smith.

Updated information on 2013 crime statistics will be made available in 2014 with the release of the next year’s Clery Report.

The 2014 report will also include information regarding the policing efforts during the Charlotte 49ers inaugural football season, numbers which Smith says he is pleasantly surprised with.

“The total of football, all six games, were three arrests, 10 state citations, 14 CAT tickets and nine trespass orders. It was a very successful year as far as we are concerned and we hope to tweak our efforts throughout the break to prepare for next year,” he said.

The 2013 Annual Security Act is available here.

Annual Tuition and Fees Advisory Board Meetings to be held next week

The 2013 Tuition and Fees Advisory Board will meet next week to discuss requests for the 2014-15 tuition and fees.

During this meeting, the established Advisory Board will discuss the proposed fee increases by university departments and provide recommendations to the Chancellor for which departments should receive increases.

The board will meet twice. The first meeting will be Tuesday, Nov. 19, at 3:30 p.m. and the second will be Thursday, Nov. 21, at 6 p.m. Both meetings will be in the Lucas Room of the Cone University Center and are open to the public.

The Nov. 21 meeting will provide those in attendance the chance to ask questions and provide comments to the board before they vote. UNC Charlotte students are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity.

For those unable to attend the meetings, a live stream is available online.

Police and Public Safety release 2013 Clery Report

UNC Charlotte’s Police and Public Safety Department released the 2013 Clery Report Tuesday, Nov. 12. The report, produced annually, details the department’s work over the past year protecting the university and the student body from crime.

Information in the report includes the daily crime logs, on-campus fire statistics and various criminal policies upheld by the university.

To view the complete Clery Report, click here.

Campus police investigate Monday morning robbery incident

Students awoke Monday morning to an email from the university’s emergency alert system, detailing a supposed armed burglary around 1:30 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 28.

The two victims were walking together on Van Landingham Road in front of East Deck 3.

They say that the suspects, who were believed to have had handguns at the scene , demanded their cell phones and laptops before leaving on foot away from campus and onto John Kirk Road.

Detective Joshua Huffman of UNC Charlotte’s Police and Public Safety Department is one of the officers investigating the incident.

“Initially the officers responded [to the scene] and the victims thought that perhaps the individuals had a weapon, but when we brought them back to the police department after they had a chance to catch their breath, they weren’t sure,” said Huffman.

Campus police cannot confirm whether the suspects had handguns at the time of the incident or not.

Victims describe the suspects as two black males, both aged in their early twenties. Victims say both suspects are around 6-feet tall, one taller than the other. Both were wearing hoodies and pants.

A request has been put out to the community and to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, letting the public know that campus police are seeking the suspects.

“We are actively investigating this right now. We do have some leads that we’re following up on,” said Huffman.

This is the first police advisory for armed robbery that UNC Charlotte students have received this academic year.

Anyone with information regarding the suspects or the incident is encouraged to contact campus police at 704-687-2200 or the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department at 911.

Suspicious object ignites email debate

Why does it take so long for the campus police department to notify the student body of some emergencies?

The university uses email alerts through Niner Mail to inform the UNC Charlotte community of inclement weather, criminal advisories and other occurrences that could be a danger to students and faculty.

The idea behind this alert system is ingenious. Most of us have email alerts sent straight to our mobile devices. The idea that messages sent to email are only accessible from a computer is a thing of the past.

We have become a mobile society, all the information we could ever want rests in an electronic device that weighs just a few ounces.

The university’s email alert system should, in theory, be the perfect method to keep Niners safe both on campus and in the surrounding area.

In a perfect world, alerts that require immediate vigilance from students, staff, faculty and emergency personnel would be sent as soon as the initial problem arises. With some types of emergency alerts, the university sends out the email notification almost instantly.

Severe weather alerts are sent as soon as the inclement weather becomes a danger on campus. Over the 2013 summer sessions, campus police sent out numerous inclement weather emails, due in part to the heavy rains that plagued the Charlotte area.

These rains ultimately flooded part of campus, causing Phillips Road to shut down. In June when the National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for our area, UNC Charlotte campus police issued an advisory to alert the university community of the potential danger.

For this, we can do nothing but praise the university. When it comes to protecting students from vehicular accidents caused by flooded roads or from getting swept away in a tornado, the university cares more than they are frequently given credit for.

The system only falls short when it comes to criminal activity alerts, which arguably is the more important type of alert. Just in the past year multiple examples of the flaw in the advisory system have come to light, the most recent of which being Saturday, Aug. 17.

Around 11 a.m. that morning, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) and campus police responded to a reported suspicious package found near Scott Hall. Residents and staff of Scott Hall, and nearby Holshouser and Hunt Halls, were evacuated as the object was at the time considered a potential explosive.

Over two hours later, after the object had been deemed non-explosive, an advisory alert was finally sent out. Thankfully the object was found to be safe, but what if it hadn’t been? What if the suspicious package was an explosive? Would an email alert have been sent out earlier?

There is no way to know whether we would have been informed sooner if the object had been dangerous, but it seems logical to assume actual danger would not have caused an earlier email to be sent.

While students and staff were evacuated from the buildings, while CMPD’s Bomb Unit responded to the scene, while the object was investigated and while the area was searched for other potentially suspicious objects, students were not informed.

Social media exploded as students living in the halls or attempting to move into their rooms commented on the situation. The official UNC Charlotte Twitter page did not comment on the suspicious object until 12:51 p.m. that afternoon, well after the situation had begun. The Twitter account is not run by the same individuals who are behind the police advisories, but both indicate a lapse in informed safety of students.

Are we as a student body asking too much when requesting a timely alert of potential danger on campus? With the amount each of us pay to this university through tuition and fees, we deserve to be informed immediately of potential danger, not two hours later after the danger has been cleared.

There is a simple solution to this problem. The campus police department should continue to send email alerts to students and faculty throughout the course of an incident. Multiple updates on the situation as it progresses, ensuring the safety of the Niner Nation family during a crisis.

We do not need one alert after an incident letting us know what happened. We need multiple alerts as authorities work to keep us safe, telling us how to help them help us. Having an individual on call whose job it is to continuously send us these alerts would make it possible to update the university community on on-going situations while not slowing down the work being done by authorities.

As for official university social media accounts, while it makes sense not to want the negative publicity these types of alerts would cause, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are sure-fire ways to keep the student body informed.

Isn’t the safety of students more important than the possibility of negative publicity a bomb threat could bring?

Proactively keeping students informed and safe does not go unnoticed, and a positive university reputation of caring about the student body seems more important than the temporary negative publicity that might follow.

Getting to know Ellen McIntyre, new dean for College of Education

A small girl sits quietly in the corner of an elementary school classroom, her bright blue eyes watching her teacher go up and down the rows of students. Unlike previous teachers this girl had had, her third grade teacher cared, a fact that showed in each interaction with her students. This was the year, this was the room where Ellen McIntyre, the new dean of the College of Education, realized her future was in education.

“I was the kid who was kind of quiet in school, well behaved but quiet. What I saw was sort of abusive behavior by teachers. I saw teachers being unfair to kids. It scared me. When I was in third grade I had this teacher who was completely different. She just treated every kid with love and respect. I just observed that. I was smart enough to know that that was different. From that day on I never waivered: I wanted to be a teacher,” said McIntyre.

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Ellen McIntyre. Headshot courtesy of UNC Charlotte.

After receiving her B.A. in elementary education from Northern Kentucky University, McIntyre taught elementary students for a few years before deciding to continue her own education and achieve her M.A. in reading education from Northern Kentucky and eventually her Ed.D. in language and literacy education with a focus on vulnerable populations from the University of Cincinnati.

From a position at the University of Louisville where she received the University Scholar distinction, given to those who were scholars and grant-receivers, she moved to N.C. State.

“N.C. State is it’s own special place. It’s very [science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)] oriented. I got a lot of background in STEM education there,” said McIntyre.

The decision to come to UNC Charlotte and assume the role of dean was an easy one for McIntyre. Last year, the Kentucky native served as the interim associate dean for Academic Affairs at N.C. State. When the news broke that UNC Charlotte was seeking a new dean for the College of Education, McIntyre jumped on the opportunity.

“I had thought maybe one day I might want to be a dean. I hadn’t expected to want to do it so soon,” said McIntyre. “But here was this moment and this opportunity and I loved the [campus of UNC Charlotte] and I just thought, ‘This.’”

UNC Charlotte’s reputation as an urban research institute was one of the university’s main draws for McIntyre, who has spent the better part of her professional life researching ways to improve the in-school experience for both students and teachers in urban settings.

“My research focus has always been on kids who have been disenfranchised whether by schools, by communities, so on. That can mean just kids who are struggling in reading, or those from high poverty, minorities, English language learners,” said McIntyre. “Most teachers care about all the kids, but don’t know how to teach them.”

With the focus of her personal research in mind, McIntyre intends to help UNC Charlotte’s College of Education better prepare teachers to education students in urban settings.

McIntyre began her new venture as dean of the College of Education July 1, replacing Mary Lynne Calhoun who retired at the end of June. Since then, she says she’s been working to get to know the faculty and the programs offered by the college.

“I want the faculty to help me produce even better teachers and better school leaders for the community. That’s not to say [other programs] aren’t important, but what I want to do is say that if this is our strength, this is what we want to play up and make even better,” said McIntyre. “I want feedback and inspiration and ideas from the faculty, the staff and the other stakeholders around the university about what it is the college should be doing.”

Parts of Cone Deck closed through month for repairs

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Construction and repairs in Cone Deck will leave parts of the deck closed through the month of July. Photo by Patrick Bogans

Amidst construction on campus UNC Charlotte Parking and Transportation Services (PaTS) continues to complete updates and repairs on the Cone Decks 1 and 2.

Repairs on the deck became necessary when a piece of concrete from the ceiling in the deck fell on a car during the spring 2013. Contractors determined that the deck was not a danger to students, faculty and staff, but necessary repairs were made apparent. PaTS made the decision to do the repairs over the summer when campus was not as occupied.

According to Gary Caton, director of PaTS, the majority of the repairs being done on the decks are structural repairs, although other updates are being made while the deck is closed.

“We’re also painting the ceilings white to make the decks brighter and safer,” said Caton. “Now is a good time to do this since the deck is already closed for the repairs. It’s more convenient to do this than to close them again.”

Cone Deck 1 was completed in 1977 and has 575 parking spaces. Deck 2 added 255 spaces to the structure when it was completed in 1988. Both parts of Cone Deck will be reopened by the end of the summer when repairs on the structure are finished, according to Caton. Progress on repairs is dependent on weather.

For more information regarding the updates to Cone Deck visit the PaTS website or click here.

Update to Atkins Library online catalog allows users to search libraries worldwide

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J. Murrey Atkins Library provides resources for students, both inside the building and anywhere through the online catalog. Photo by Chris Crews.

J. Murrey Atkins Library recently made changes to the online catalog that will allow students, faculty and staff to more effectively use the library resources from computers, whether at the library, home, work or in class.

Now using the WorldCat Local online search service, those using the library’s webpage will be able to search for books and resources not just available on the shelves at Atkins Library, but libraries worldwide. The new system also allows for more effective sorting of search results given to the catalog user, according to Sharon Reichard, director of Communication and Public Relations for J. Murrey Atkins Library.

Reichard describes the new system as “a simpler, more user-friendly search interface,” she said. “The search box on the front of the library website is a bit different, reflecting a broader search capability. Results from the new ‘Everything’ search box will including holdings from libraries worldwide, although the results from Atkins Library will be displayed first.”

WorldCat will also allow interlibrary loan, the ability to have libraries borrow from one another, to be included in the catalog system. Users will also be able to create public profiles on WorldCat and save lists of materials that the user would like to remember.

Atkins Library worked towards this upgrade for 18 months, when research regarding companies to work with began. The new catalog system was unveiled earlier this month.

Anonymous brings #OpJuly4th to uptown Charlotte

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A member of Anonymous at a Ron Paul rally in Philadelphia, 2007. Photo courtesy of MCT Campus.

Members of the group Anonymous are easy to pick out when at rallies or protests. The iconic Guy Fawkes masks help the organized group stand out in crowds. The corner of N Tryon Street and W Trade Street in uptown Charlotte will be home to many of these mask-sporting people Thursday, July 4, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., as part of #OpJuly4th.

According to the official website for this movement, those who will participate will “seek out centers of commerce, shopping malls, street corners and anywhere else you can simply hand out copies of the Constitution. This is not a protest. This is progress.”

According to one member of Anonymous who works exclusively on the movement in North Carolina and whose identity is kept private, “it’s purely a peaceful movement, promoting the mission of #OpJuly4th in which we are trying to educate, unify and involve United States citizens with the truth,” said the individual. “During the Operation July 4 celebration, Anons have plans to hand out copies of the pocket U.S. Constitution.”

This is expected to be the largest public event in Anonymous history. Over 100 cities are expected to participate, ranging from Honolulu, Hawaii to Tampa Bay, Fla., with cities scattered throughout between. San Juan, Puerto Rico and Kolenade Pretoria, South Africa are also expected to participate.

North Carolina Anonymous organizer says that the number of cities planning to participate in the operation blows members of Anonymous away.

“The expectation and the actual percentile which is carrying out the event is phenomenal and exceeded our guesstimate,” said the Anonymous member. “I personally want a massive gathering on Anons and people to join sides and make the impression in our Queen City.”

Anyone interested can participate in the Anonymous movement, which the North Carolina Anon says is not promoting the Anonymous message but the American message. “Anyone can order a box [of U.S. Constitutions] which ship entirely free to your home address or post office right now. From there you will simply gather in your nearest city of operation listed on OpJuly4th.com and hand out constitutions,” said the member.

Free constitutions are provided by Zeldon Nelson of the National Center for Constitutional Studies (NCCS) through the NCCS website.

“Anonymous has continuously stated that this is your operation. Do what you will, as the people, by the people, for the people,” said the North Carolina Anon. “We Anons are a collective. We are united and we declare #OpJuly4th to be a celebration of our independence, constitutional rights, freedom and the educational opportunity for our entire nation.”

Planning to attend #OpJuly4th? Tweet @Niner_Times using #OpJuly4th to let us know!

Upgrades to NinerMail allow students to seemlessly access Microsoft SkyDrive

The university NinerMail system is nearing the completion of an upgrade that will bring it from a Microsoft Office 2010 base hosted with Live to e-mail inboxes through Office 365.

This upgrade will allow access to the Microsoft Office SkyDrive using NinerNet logon credentials.

Ave Maria Arrington-Ferguson, project manager for the NinerMail upgrade with Information and Technology Services, says the department is hopeful that the system upgrade will be complete by the end of the week.

“Microsoft is doing the lion’s share of the work so we’re at their mercy. We want it to be done by the end of the week and have the icon reappear but in the meantime students can use myninermail.uncc.edu and get right into their email,” she said.

Once complete, the majority of the upgrade, says Arrington Ferguson, not be directly visible through the inbox interface. All e-mails, contacts, calendar entries and other saved items on NinerMail accounts will be saved and transfered to the Office 365 infrastructure.

“You’ll actually go to their portal and you’ll click on inbox and you’ll go there,”said Arrington-Ferguson. “There is a thing to access your SkyDrive and you’ll click on that and use your Windows Live ID to go to your SkyDrive and get all your SkyDrive information.”

SkyDrive, a service by Microsoft Office that is similar to Dropbox, uses cloud storage space to allow users to access data anywhere from countless devices.

After this week’s NinerMail upgrade, another update to the Microsoft-based e-mail is possible in the coming academic year, says Arrington-Ferguson. The university e-mail is running on Office 2010, an older version of Microsoft’s products. Near the end of 2013 or beginning of 2014, it is likely that Microsoft will make the decision to transition the university e-mail from Office 2010 to Office 2013.

“That transition will be totally Microsoft. So one day you’ll log in and your inbox will be, where it used to be 2010 it’ll now be 2013,” said Arrington-Ferguson. “It’ll give the students more flexibility, or it’s supposed to. They’ll be able to get more apps if they choose to, that sort of thing.”

To access NinerMail during the upgrade, go to the Outlook 365 web platform and log on using the full university-provided email address and NinerNet password. Access through 49erExpress will be restored when the upgrade is complete.

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Upgraded NinerMail will have students log into e-mail using Office 365.

Charlotte student Ryan Hess pulls out all the stops to realize his dream

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“It’s not even about the money. It’s seeing who is there for dreams and who still cares about dreams,” said Ryan Hess, UNC Charlotte student. Photo courtesy of Ryan Hess.

Ryan Hess is a typical Charlotte 49er. A member of the Business Honors Program and University Honors Program, brother with the university chapter of Sigma Tau Gamma, supporter of Niner Nation Gold, previous Resident Advisor for the Department of Housing and Residence Life and an acting or previous member of countless organizations on campus, Hess has done it all. At least, he almost has.

What’s next for Hess is time spent studying abroad in Italy at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan. He’s been accepted, he’s filling out the endless paperwork, but something is still missing. The next two months for Hess, in addition to the previous few months since his acceptance, will be dedicated to raising the funds to get him abroad.

After applying to dozens of scholarships, many of which did not pan out, Hess has started an online donation point through Rally.org, a website that allows individuals to create fundraisers and track donations.

“I got the idea in February. It was like, ‘Hey Ryan, maybe you should start a fundraiser.’ And I decided no, I hadn’t pulled out all the stops yet. I needed to do everything else, and then the scholarships weren’t working out. But I kept pushing it off and pushing it off,” said Hess. “But now, I’ve done too much and come too far to turn back.”

Italy and the university in Milan is what Hess considers a right fit for him. Not just the university or the country, he also feels a connection with the language in general.

“I studied French for two years. I studied Spanish for two years. And I just couldn’t connect to them. I was like, ‘eh.’ But then I studied Italian,” said Hess. “I love it, it’s just beautiful. And it doesn’t have to be practical. For once, I’m doing something because it makes me feel good.”

Hess has less than two months left before he needs to have his funds together. If all goes well, he will leave Sept. 1, after the Charlotte 49er’s first football game against the Campbell Camels, Hess happily says.

“I’m not expecting a lot, this is kind of like a Hail Mary. If it takes off and does well, then great but if it doesn’t, I will find a way. I’m pulling out every stop. I’ve applied for scholarships everyday, I’m trying everything. Every stack of paper in my backpack has to do with Italy,” said Hess.

To help Hess realize his dream, donate to his rally here. Tweet @NinerTimes using #HelpHessItaly2013 to share your thoughts on Hess’ story.

New TCBY location opens Saturday, free frozen yogurt all day

Get the spoons ready, Charlotte.

TCBY, a national frozen yogurt chain with locations scattered throughout the Charlotte area, is gearing up to open a new location on Piedmont Row Drive off Fairview Road. The new location, which opens Saturday, June 8, will celebrate it’s opening by giving a free cup of the frozen yogurt to guests all day and a TCBY gift card to the first 100 guests to attend the opening.


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Sam Batt, TCBY franchisee operating this new location and over a dozen others in the North and South Carolina, says the location is perfect based on the surrounding businesses and the TCBY health-conscious outlook.

“We thought South Park would be a fantastic market for us. The shopping center, just in terms of the aesthetics, it’s close to the YMCA too,” said Batt. “And being there is in line with our healthy outlook. It seemed like a really great fit for us.”

TCBY works to set themselves apart from other frozen yogurt chains through their recipes and the corporate attitude.

“About 85 percent of our competition uses a generic form of yogurt from a dairy. We have our own formula and people who make it for us. It’s really kind of cool. That’s where we can control the nutritional,” said Brian Mooney, TCBY regional director of operations for the East.

The company is also encouraging all new franchisees to open stores using the self-serve model. Batt was the first TCBY owner to open a self serve TCBY, and his first location was also the first frozen yogurt store in North Carolina using the self-serve model.

“I think it’s absolutely the best direction to go. It’s offering customers the opportunity to get whatever they want,” said Batt. “They took a big risking, putting a 30 year old brand in my hands to open the first self-serve store, but it definitely paid off.”

Tweet @Niner_Times using the hashtag #PiedmontRowTCBY to tell us if you plan to go out and get free froyo Saturday.

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TCBY employs a food scientist to ensure that all their flavors are top notch and healthy. Photo courtesy of the TCBY official Facebook page.

Updates to the Moodle platform to be fully launched in fall 2013

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It’s here. Long awaited, spoken of in hushed, reverent tones. One of UNC Charlotte’s newest additions to online education, Moodle 2, is here.

When logging into Moodle, among the list of site-wide announcements is the launch of Moodle 2. The program, which has been in production mainly starting fall 2012, is one of the most recent pieces in online and mobile interaction between students and faculty.

Over the summer sessions, various professors from a range of departments volunteered their courses to use Moodle 2 as opposed to the first generation of Moodle to publish and distribute course material, provide students with online quizzes and tests, keep students up-to-date on course deadlines and communicate with the members of the course frequently. After the close to a dozen courses utilize the platform this summer, Moodle 2 will be launched campus-wide and will be applied to all courses for the fall semester.

“We’re spending the summer sort of fixing those things that they say aren’t working quite right so when we do our full launch in the fall we hope to have a very stable experience for all of our users,” said Valorie McAlpin, director of the Faculty Center for Teaching and eLearning.

Most of the changes for the new platform are behind the scenes, according to McAlpin. Faculty, staff, developers and support staff will see the majority of the changes, although new features and modules on the website that instructors choose to integrate into the courses will be visible and usable by students.

“There’s forums for discussion, a space for project reporting, there’s a space asking questions, there is a space for uploading your videos. All of that creates a rich learning environment for our students,” said McAlpin.

“There are certain modules that are new, like the grading module. It allows you to record feedback for a particular project and then you can just select those comments automatically and then apply them.”

These new features and upgrades are necessary for the growing university and the expanding number of programs offered, says McAlpin. Many of the features will help instructors manage larger or hybrid classes, especially helpful now as many of the courses offered at UNC Charlotte are shifting in this direction.

“With Moodle, the old Moodle, it’s very outdated and we probably should have updated it before we did. We wanted to be very strategic about when we upgraded. We wanted it to be reliable and sustainable. We felt that this was the best time to do it,” said McAlpin.

“It looks better, it works better and we think that it’s going to make a big difference in the way faculty and staff are using it.”

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Ave Maria Arrington-Ferguson, project manager for the Moodle 2 project through university Information Technology Services, says focus groups are scheduled for July 2. The focus group will integrate students, faculty and staff involved in Moodle 2 to get a variety of responses that will help improve the program for the fall full launch. Over the summer, the first generation of Moodle will still be available but come fall 2013, the original Moodle URL will redirect to Moodle 2’s website.

“As a university we were so ready to upgrade and move on and get some of the enhanced functionality that we hit the ground running, and that’s what made it fun,” said Arrington-Ferguson. “I’m jazzed on learning, so knowing that I can facilitate that for someone was just awesome.”

Are you in one of the courses using Moodle 2 for the summer or have strong opinions about it? Tweet @Niner_Times using the hashtag #Moodle2UNCC to tell us what you think of the new platform!