Megan Bird

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Megan is the News Editor for the Niner Times. She is a sophomore Political Science and Spanish double major. Megan is from Charlottesville, Virginia. She can be reached at news@ninertimes.com

Education honors society wins “Ace of the ACE”

(Left to right) Advisor Misty Hathcock, President Madison Hopper, Past-president Megan Kuspky and Literacy Alive coordinator My’Asia Jaabe. Photo courtesy of UNC Charlotte.

UNC Charlotte’s chapter of Kappa Delta Pi was named top chapter for 2017.

The education honors society received the Dr. Florence B Stratemeyer Award, known to club members as the “Ace of the ACE.” The award is the highest honor granted by Kappa Delta Pi, recognizing the top group from over 650 international chapters.

In addition, the UNC Charlotte chapter Omicron Pi received the Achieving Chapter Excellence (ACE) award for the third consecutive biennium. The prestigious award is granted to the top 20 chapters that excel in membership, leadership development and programming in order to advance the society’s goals and missions.

Kappa Delta Pi was founded in 1911 as an international society in education and now exceeds 1.2 million members. The UNC Charlotte chapter, Omicron Pi, was established in 1981 and has grown close to 3,000 initiated members.

Chapter Advisor Misty Hathcock emphasized the significance of this growth.

“When I started in 2005, we were initiation only,” she said. “We have worked really hard to be an active chapter and provide opportunities for our members. It’s an incredible feeling.”

Today, Omicron Pi hosts several major events to benefit chapter members and the community.

The group hosts professional workshops called Teacher Toolbox Tuesdays that range from classroom management skills to interview strategies.

One of the group’s biggest events is Literacy Alive, a collaboration with Newell Elementary School to promote literacy and encourage third grade students to aspire toward college. It begins with a school visit in which the Omicron Pi members read to the third graders and talk about college. In the spring, the elementary school students spend a day at UNC Charlotte touring the university and participating in a STEM activity. The event is in its eighth year and has won several awards from Kappa Delta Pi.

Omicron Pi requires a minimum GPA of 3.5 and 30+ credit hours, however anyone can attend meetings and volunteer with the chapter.

“It’s a great organization that is a great benefit to me as a student and that someone can transfer to their career and use after you graduate,” said Chapter President Madison Hopper.

An hour in the life: The poverty simulation

On November 17, a sort of chaos took over the Student Union as students took part in a poverty simulation hosted by the Multicultural Resource Center (MRC). Eviction officers turned over the chairs that had represented students’ homes, students scrambled to gather money to pay their rent, and participants frantically ran in and out of a makeshift jail.

The poverty simulation is designed to familiarize students with what it is like to live in poverty. Participants are assigned to different family structures and must make it through the month (in this case, an hour-long period) by keeping their home secure, buying the required amount of food each week, keeping their utilities on, making loan payments, paying for clothing and other expenses, and keeping their children in school.

Easier said than done. Afterwards, participants described the experience as “overwhelming, stressful and a vicious cycle.”

The Isaacson family seemed to experience one misfortune after the other: they were forced to pawn kitchen appliances in order to pay their utilities, they temporarily lost their daughter to child services, and they were even sent to jail when a cop suspected them of using drugs.

Aunilie Linehan, who played the role of the 19-year-old single mother in the family, found it poignant that her character was the same age as her. When describing the simulation, she pointed out the irony that, “You have to get a job to keep your benefits, but there is no job.” Linehan’s situation was not an isolated one; One-third of all single moms in Mecklenburg County are in poverty.

The simulation was brought to UNC Charlotte over 10 years ago by Dr. Lyndon Abrams of the College of Education. Abrams wrote a grant in conjunction with the MRC through the Chancellor’s Diversity Fund. His goal is to increase people’s awareness of others’ living conditions.

“When we understand poverty, we can do something about it, and when the folks with the least amount of wealth’s situation improves, everyone’s situation improves,” Abrams said.

For many students and residents of Charlotte, the poverty simulation hits close to home. Mary Munn, a student who played the father-figure in the Isaacson family, was interested in the simulation because she “experienced some of this growing up.” 21.3 percent of children in Charlotte live below the poverty line, and there is a mere four percent chance that Charlotte residents born into poverty will escape it.

During the wrap-up, the volunteer running the Quick Cash stand admitted to purposefully favoring students of color. He was more likely to give these students their checks or keep the stand open for them, he said, “to relay the message that there are layers of oppression.” People of color are disproportionately affected by poverty. In Charlotte, more than one-fourth of Hispanic families and one-fifth of black families are in poverty, compared to less than 5 percent of white families.

Despite the frustration and solemnity of the day, Abrams ended it on an inspiring note.

“[People affected by poverty] don’t need our pity, but they need our support,” Abrams said.

Students can help those in need by volunteering through websites like www.volunteermatch.org, writing letters and educating others. Those who are interested in continuing the conversation on poverty may attend part two of the simulation on Tuesday, November 28.

Center for Counseling and Psychological Services named for Christine Price

Photo courtesy of UNC Charlotte.

The Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) not only has a new location, but also a new name. On Oct. 30, a ceremony was held to dedicate the new building to UNC Charlotte alumna Christine Price.

Outside the new CAPS building, a plaque recognizes Christine Price. Christine Price earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in 1982 and has remained dedicated to serving UNC Charlotte ever since. She supported Charlotte Athletics by helping to secure gifts for the annual Great Gold Rush Auction to support athletic scholarships, and contributes to initiatives across the University, including Habitat for Humanity, the Belk College of Business and the Chancellor’s Fund.

Christine Price and her husband, Joe Price, also supported the Exponential Campaign, the largest fundraising initiative at the university with a mission to raise $200 million toward funding student scholarships, improving the student experience, recruiting skilled faculty and supporting key programs. Joe Price serves as chair of the Board of Directors of Habitat for Humanity’s worldwide operations and is also chair of the UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees. The Prices have two daughters and a son.

The relocation of CAPS from Atkins Library to its new location next to the Student Health Center was funded by Student Health funds and the Chancellor’s Fund, to which Christine Price contributes. Although the new location means a longer hike for a lot of students, it also means many new opportunities for the center and its clients. Dr. David Spano, associate vice chancellor for health programs and services and director of CAPS, welcomes the change. He says the new space will provide room to hire much-needed staff, add space for more groups and workshops, and foster a closer relationship with Student Health, located directly across from CAPS.

“Just as important,” Spano added, “is the more welcoming environment this new center creates.”