Kalyn Kisiah

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Road rage evoked shooting at apartment complex near UNC Charlotte

On Nov. 30, police were notified that there had been a shooting at 901 Place, an off-campus apartment complex located close to UNC Charlotte.

They were informed that it was sparked by a highway altercation at about 4:00 p.m. in the 800 block of Pavillion Boulevard.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said they were unable to locate the victim at the time of the call, but were notified that a woman named Dejanae Gilliam drove herself to Carolina’s Medical Center with serious injuries.

She was listed in critical condition Tuesday morning and police have not made any arrests in the case.

Initially, officers said the shooting happened in the 900 block of Forty Niner Avenue. Since then, they have stated that the incident was not related to nearby UNC Charlotte. It is located 2 miles from the university.

The shooting is one of more than 50 serious crimes within a 1-mile radius from University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

The shooting at 901 Place was the second shooting in two days to occur at an off-campus apartment. The first incident happened near University House apartments, where a student was shot and rushed to the hospital.

UNC Charlotte students back out of petition against high parking costs

Currently, the price of a parking pass for students, faculty, and staff for a full year at UNC Charlotte sells for a costly $450.

The issue students have with the fee is that more often than not, there is extremely limited parking on campus and students are upset that they have paid for a place to park, but have difficulty finding one.

Research from other universities in the area shows variation in prices, most of which are less costly than UNC Charlotte.

“We started a petition hoping to reduce the cost of parking on campus or provide those affected with financial information concerning usage of fees acquired through parking permits,” said student and petition creator Aimee Wood. “After meeting with PATS and learning why prices are so costly, we backed out of our petitioning to lower the costs and focused more on educating students and faculty about permit pricing.”

After researching, they found that the truth is that permits are so expensive due to costs of building large parking decks and campus expanding at a faster rate than they can build.

Parking lot that is filled up. Photo by Leysha Caraballo
Parking lot that is filled up. Photo by Leysha Caraballo

Also, it was confirmed that PATS does not receive any money from permits and is currently in debt.

“Although the prices were not lowered, we did achieve our goal in educating students and faculty about the prices through our social media and signature collection,” said Wood.

Some of the group’s core objectives included the use of social media to raise awareness about issues with parking and transportation on campus, as well as creating a brochure and setting up a table on campus outside of the Student Union to talk with faculty and staff about parking and transportation services.

Veterans Day Ceremony held at UNC Charlotte

Director for Veteran’s Services David Vacchi. Photo by Makeedah Baker.
UNC Charlotte Chancellor Phillip Dubois. Photo by Makeedah Baker.

The first campus-wide Veterans Day ceremony in recent memory was held in the Fretwell courtyard at 4 p.m. on Nov. 11.

Director for Veteran’s Services David Vacchi introduced the simple ceremony. UNC Charlotte Chancellor Phillip Dubois gave a speech on the history of the impact of veterans in higher education dating back to World War II and connected that history with the legacy of Bonnie Cone and the establishment of the Charlotte Extension Center and Charlotte College.

The guest speaker at the event was Cindi Basenspiler, executive director of the Charlotte Bridge Home, a home and support service for veterans as they transition from military service.

“She spoke about her background as a young student with great potential that couldn’t commit to numerous scholarship opportunities and how enlisting in the National Guard gave her the focus to eventually become an Army officer and then to continue into a successful career in corporate America,” said Vacchi.

“She dispelled myths that veterans simply take off the uniform and walk right into a corner office job and that veterans have to show their value by starting at the bottom all over again.  Her message was that we should expect our veterans to rise and succeed rapidly due to their military background,” said Vacchi.

At the conclusion of the event, Vacchi made brief remarks about several initiatives on campus to support the success of student veterans including the new Veterans Lounge and a veterans discussion group.

“My message was ‘Why not UNC Charlotte?’ when I talked about the potential of UNC Charlotte to become a national leader in Veterans Services and Scholarship,” said Vacchi

A short reception in the Veterans Lounge followed.

Veterans Day ceremony in the Fretwell courtyard. Photo by Makeedah Baker.
Veterans Day ceremony in the Fretwell courtyard. Photo by Makeedah Baker.

Campus Safety Initiative growing in student involvement

The Campus Safety and Security Committee. Photo by Pooja Pasupula.
The Campus Safety and Security Committee. Photo by Pooja Pasupula.

UNC Charlotte is committed to making sure students reside, commute and do all activities on a safe campus. The Campus Safety and Security Committee is responsible for upholding these safety standards. Secretary of Student Affairs Melissa Martin organized the Campus Safety Initiative this year.

Martin works with campus safety and security committee as well as the police department, facilities management and facilities to make campus safer. The most notable difference from last years event is that the name of the event was changed from Campus Safety Walk to Campus Safety Initiative.

“I think that [the Campus Safety and Security Committee] are trying to make it more inclusive for all students instead of only students who can walk, because not everyone is able to walk across campus,” said Martin. “We’re trying to make it so that areas of campus are identified that make it easy for people who can’t walk around this campus to get around.”

There have not been any more major changes besides the name, with the exception that the committee is pushing to get more students involved. They are aiming to get the students on board so that they can be a voice for their fellow students.

The student’s involvement includes a representative from each of the class councils. The Campus Safety and Security Committee reached out to other organizations, and student groups such as Cheer Nation attended.

The police departments was also involved in the Campus Safety Initiative because they are the main responders to all of the different safety issues on campus as well a talking to individuals who may have concerns.

The campus police mobile command center. Photo by Pooja Pasupula.
The campus police mobile command center. Photo by Pooja Pasupula.

Along with the police, student senators walk the campus to check out the blue lights, as well as all the lights on campus, construction sites, parking decks and even the outer perimeter of the campus to make sure everything is as safe for students as possible.

“We want students to feel safe when they’re walking on campus, no matter if it is in the morning, during the day, or walking home at night,” said Martin.

Senators split into nine different groups and walked nine zones that were divided across campus. After all groups have completed walking their zones, they report back to Martin with what they have observed. She then types up a document containing the information the senators collected and sends the report to campus officials. The report can also be found on the UNC Charlotte website.

“This document is a big thing [UNC Charlotte Chancellor Phillip Dubois] considers when he is thinking about things he wants to change on campus,” said Martin.

Student Pantry moves to new location

The Niner Student Pantry will be opening this semester at its new location, 1224 John Kirk Drive.

The pantry’s previous space was occupying an assistant professor’s office and since it was just an office, the space was too small to accommodate all of the needs of the pantry. This also meant that there was very limited privacy for those who used the pantry’s services.

“The pantry needed privacy for client psychological stigma,” said Sean Langley, food pantry program co-founder and assistant director of off-campus and volunteer outreach.

Changes to the pantry have also been made by way of the addition of a clothes closet, which is currently being filled with slacks and dresses and career-oriented clothes.

“We are looking for other partnerships for the closet as well,” said Langley.

The new and improved pantry also includes nutrition classes in a master room, a kitchen and recipes for international students, as well as a vegetable garden. The requirements for receiving food from the pantry have not changed with the improvements.

The eligibility requirements state that the individual must be a UNC Charlotte student, they must show their current UNC Charlotte ID, they may not be part of a campus meal plan and they must sign a food insecurity pledge. This pledge states that they do not have access to regular meals.

The new hours for fall 2015 are Mondays and Thursdays, between the hours of 8 a.m. – 10 a.m. and 4- 6 p.m.

UNC Charlotte holds 23rd annual Earth Day Festival

With music played on wooden instruments by skilled musicians, earth-friendly activities and countless ways to learn about saving the earth, Wednesday, April 22 marked UNC Charlotte’s 23rd annual Earth Day Festival.

The festival was comprised of roughly 30 vendors which set up tables on campus between the COED and CCHS buildings.

The vendors, such UNC Charlotte Green Initiative (CGI) and UNC Charlotte Community Garden represented causes such as stopping off shore oil drilling.

The organizations had petitions available for activists and enthusiasts to sign in an attempts to discourage the action. Other petitions available at the festival included a petition in support of maintaining a clean environment, recycling and keeping the Earth green by growing and tending to plants and gardens.

Each vendor had a table set up with information and giveaways such as waterbottles, t-shirts and plants. Many offered interactive activities, like planting your own plant for visitors to take home.

In adition to individual organizations’ freebees, there was an annual giveaway, which included boxes of books, binders and other various school supplies that recycling technicians find on campus. In the middle of the festival you could even find a giant Earth ball to take your picture with in celebration of Earth Day.

UNC Charlotte to host Take Back the Night, honors and remembers victims of sexual assault, domestic violence

This Wednesday April 15, at 5 p.m., UNC Charlotte’s Center for Wellness Promotion and the Interpersonal Violence Prevention and Education Committee will host the annual Take Back The Night event directed by Nicole Madonna-Rosario. The event is held to honor and remember those who have fallen victim to sexual assault and domestic violence with a theme of hope and healing.

Chancellor Philip Dubois will provide opening remarks for the event followed by honoring the Jamie Kimbell Foundation by giving an award to Jamie’s parents and founders of the foundation, Ron and Jan Kimbell.

Jamie was the victim of fatal assault by an intimate partner and her parents started the foundation to raise awareness for, and prevent sexual assault and domestic violence against young people.

“A new award will be given every year by being voted on. It’s really a new component and pillar of honoring the community,” said Madonna-Rosario.

After the award is received, there will be guest speakers who will be graciously telling there stories and a march lead by the 49er Battalion Color Guard, followed by a candlelight vigil and speak out at the Belk tower.

The event will close with a performance from one of UNC Charlotte’s vocal professors. After the speak out and performance, there will be a meditation. Madonna-Rosario said, “It will provide time to bring everyone back into focus after hearing all that the speakers had to say.”

“Participants are encouraged to attend “Remember The Night” on Thursday, April 16, to discuss steps on how to shift culture on campus to create a safer place on campus for survivors and their supporters,” said Madonna-Rosario.

There will be a continental breakfast sponsored by the UNC Charlotte Interfraternity Council served in Student Union, room 200, with a discussion for staff and faculty only from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. A students-only discussion will be held from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

UNC Charlotte to host National Public Health Week Fair

This year, UNC Charlotte is hosting the National Public Health Week Health Fair. This is the first year the Graduate Public Health Association-sponsored event is being held.

The health fair will be held in the Student Activity Center Atrium on April 7 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The event aims to raise awareness about nutrition and wellness in women and men’s health, the importance of tobacco prevention and cessation and domestic violence and sexual assault awareness.

The organizations represented through this event include; American Heart Association, Carolinas Care, Equality NC, Mecklenburg Safe Communities, Murdock Study, Novant, Planned Parenthood, UNC Charlotte Recycling Department, SAFE Alliance, Smoothie King, The Produce Box, UNC Charlotte Center for Wellness, Promotion, UNC Charlotte Counseling Center, UNC Charlotte Dietician, UNC Charlotte Rec Services, and UNC Charlotte Department of Public Health Sciences.

“This is our first National Public Health Fair and we really hope to make it an annual event,” said Elizabeth Schob, Graduate Assistant at the Center for Wellness Promotion.

There will be various student activities such as zumba, meditation, yoga, a DJ, free healthy snack samples and free smoothie samples from Smoothie King.

The event is free and open to the public.

UNC Charlotte to host 10th anniversary International Women’s Day Celebration

On Thursday, March 26, UNC Charlotte’s International Student Scholar Office (ISSO) will host their 10th anniversary of International Women’s Day celebration. The event is held each year to honor and celebrate women throughout the world who are working to make it a better place. ISSO especially encourages students, faculty and staff who have female figures that have been a great influence in their life to join the celebration.

For the tenth anniversary on International Women’s Day, ISSO has gathered a guest speaker, a performance by UNC Charlotte Women’s Chorus and recognition of women in the charlotte community who have positively affected campus. The event will be held in the Student Union piano lounge run from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

McMillan greenhouse to hold Valentine’s Day orchid sale

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Photo courtesy of Paula Gross

 

While the common flower theme on Valentine’s Day may be roses, the McMillan Greenhouse would like to challenge that tradition with their vast selection of orchids this season.

Orchids are very different from other flowers, taking several years from a young plant to reach full blooming size. Additionally, these plants last longer than roses.

Recommendations on caring for the orchids are provided at the sale, so that you and your valentine can keep your orchid happy for a long time!

The sale will be held at McMillan Greenhouse on February 12 –14. The greenhouse will be open Thursday and Friday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m..

Orchids will be priced from $15 – $40. Cash, check and charge are accepted.  The sale is open to the public and free to attend.

Photo courtesy of Paula Gross
Photo courtesy of Paula Gross

Union Takeover: Winter Wonderland


Photos by Chris Crews.

On Friday, Jan. 30, UNC Charlotte students, faculty and staff celebrated the winter season at the Campus Activities Board’s (C.A.B.) Union Takeover: Winter Wonderland. The Student Union was brimming with individuals enjoying hot chocolate, music, and an indoor ice skating rink. The Rotunda was decorated with blue and white balloon, which lead to the ice skating rink, paper snowflakes strung on rows upon rows of hanging strands with glistening lights, and white glittery snow dusted trees at every corner.

UNC Charlotte’s Student Union ranked 6th in nation

Student unions can certainly be considered the central hub of any university, bringing many diverse groups of people together. This is so, especially if the student union is as eloquently designed as that of UNC Charlotte, which was recently ranked sixth out of 30 student unions in colleges across the nation on bestcollegevalues.org.

Within UNC Charlotte’s “state of the art meeting, gathering, office, community, and study space” as stated on studentunion.uncc.edu, you can find the rotunda, a round sitting space with an open floor area in the center of the first level, which is often used as a venue for live bands, drawing crowds of students to listen.

The first level of the Union also features a variety of entertainment options for students to enjoy including an art gallery featuring some of UNC Charlotte’s students best work, a movie theater where students can view current movies at no cost and Norm’s pool hall, which is a great place to gather with fellow students to watch the big game.

In addition to offering a variety of entertainment options, the union is also home to a variety of dining facilities. On the first floor is a Starbucks and Outtakes Quick Cuisine, which is much like a quick stop for frozen foods, drinks and candy. Union Square, also located on the first floor, is comprised of Mamma Leone’s, Einstein Bagel Brothers, Freshens and Wendy’s.

The second floor’s dining options include Crown Commons, a buffet-style eatery offering a wide variety of options, and Bistro 49, a higher-scale restaurant.

For the convenience of students who don’t want to leave campus for a trip to the salon is Union Station, which has highly trained hair and nail professionals. Beside the salon is the ID card office where students can go to obtain new or replace lost student identification cards. Adjacent from the salon is both the Charlotte Metro Credit Union and the Niner Tech computer store, which offers Apple technicians and products for students.

The first floor of the Union is also where students can find Barnes & Noble at UNC Charlotte, the campus bookstore.

The offices of the Student Government, Student Organization Resource Center, Campus Activities Board, Niners on the Weekend, Multicultural Resource Center, Religious and Spiritual Life,  Center for Leadership and Development as well as other student organizations and meeting rooms for students are all located on the third floor.

Aside from the Student Union’s vast list of amenities, another attribute is visual appeal. The union is  high-tech and neatly designed with its tile floors and stairs, Niner-colored hues on the walls to bring out school spirit and balconies looking out just off of the cafeteria on the second floor, which are also equipped with outdoor seating.

To view the complete list of top student unions from universities around the nation, visit: http://www.bestcollegevalues.org/student-unions/