Saba Solaimanizadeh


Dr. Andy Randolph speaks at EPIC energy seminar

Dr. Andrew Randolph speaks at EPIC Energy Seminar. Photo by Pooja Pasupula.

On April 25, Dr. Andrew Randolph, technical director of ECR engines, joined UNC Charlotte for the last EPIC speaker series of the semester to provide some insight on why the E15 biofuel is a valuable alternative for a variety of vehicles, from NASCAR vehicles to the everyday driver.

Randolph’s research focuses on the combustion properties of alcohol/diesel and alcohol/oil blends and has contributed to five NASCAR Cup championships with three different teams as technical director of ECR engines. His analysis was based around a comparison of ethanol and gasoline.

“With ethanol, hydrogen burns very clean,” he explained. “Having some oxygen bound to the fuel increases oxidation efficiency. Gasoline, however, produces more carbon emissions when burned.”

Randolph demonstrated this by burning both ethanol and gasoline in different plates and showing the imprint of carbon emissions. For ethanol, the oxygen that is contained in the fuel reduces CO emissions.

He explained that ethanol’s high octane number, which quantifies the susceptibility of a fuel to autoignite, reduces this susceptibility and aligns with automotive industry trends toward smaller displacement, high specific power engines.

Ethanol also has a high heat of vaporization that further increases Octane above published values and provides a power boost via charge cooling.

“Ethanol is the safest, least expensive octane booster,” said Randolph. “Ethanol has nearly three times the Hvap as gasoline. Power also increases with a cooler intake charge because the density increases.”

He then presented the disadvantages of ethanol. He began by acknowledging the higher heating value of ethanol that results in 34 percent less fuel economy than pure gasoline, but argued that the cost of fuel drops faster than the fuel mileage, making ethanol/gasoline blends a bargain.

Another counterargument posed is that water is not soluble in gasoline, making it harmful to boat engines, but Randolph noted that any water in the fuel system is only an issue for boaters operating on pure gasoline.

Randolph also addressed the notion that ethanol ruins small engines, by explaining that small engines are calibrated extremely rich so the fuel can aid with cooling.

When ECR implemented fuel with higher ethanol into NASCAR, the engine power increased slightly. This was because the ethanol provided more cooling so the post-race piston hardness increased.

When asked about the potential shift from 10-15 percent ethanol, Randolph explained that it’s a slow transition because of older model cars.
“We have to work our way up slowly because of potential difficulty with the calibration in older cars,” he said. “But I do think we will go national. There will be no problems associated with it in the future.”

Jamie Wren of Growth Energy, who helped organize the event, explained the availability of E15 in the US market.

“E15 is available in 29 states, North Carolina adopted it and is fifth in the nation,” she said. “There are 700 stations and it’s set to double by the end of the year.”

Harvard researcher presents “The Economics of Race” at TIAA Speaker Series

On April 12, Harvard University researcher and economics professor, Dr. Roland Fryer joined the UNC Charlotte community in the Student Union multipurpose room to present the sixth annual Teacher’s Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA) Lecture, titled the “Economics of Race,” as a part of the Bank of America Civic Series.

Fryer’s research focuses on a highly speculated social issues in modern America, such as crime, discrimination and poverty, utilizing economic approaches to examine these effects.

Susan McCarter, professor in the School of Social Work and opener of the speaker series, explained Fryer’s research as unique in that it “combines economic theory, empirical designs and social issues,” later making inferences off of this research for future policies.

Fryer began the lecture by mentioning a few key concepts in relation to the role of incentives (and adversely, retribution) in creating and implementing policies. He explained that his first research project, of which he was given a $20,000 research budget, was used to buy pizza or give money to public school kids in the Bronx in order to do well in school.

“You have to be really sophisticated with the way you design [an incentive structure],” Fryer said. “When you gave the kids incentive to do well in school, math scores went up but reading scores went down. Incentives may sound okay now, but in 2007 this was highly controversial.”

Fryer tied in the concept of racial differences in police brutality, a long-term research endeavor that he’s been working on.

In order to carry out the experiment, Fryer embedded himself in the police departments by receiving police training in order to understand police culture, build trust and obtain the data needed for research.

“It’s eye-opening to understand a little bit of what happens on the other side of the equation,” he said.

The statistics of the study found with 5.5 million instances with non-lethal use of force, there is a 54 percent difference in odds ratio for blacks. Fryer also noted that when perfectly compliant, there’s still a 25 percent difference in odds ratio between races with lower level uses of force.

However, when observing the data for the 1,317 officer-involved shootings, Fryer found there wasn’t a substantial racial difference in the odds ratio. He predicted this may have to do with the fact that it’s a life-altering decision to set off a weapon as an officer, as officer-involved shootings have many more investigations and the stakes are much higher.

“There is a distinct difference between racism relative to higher stakes and lower stakes,” he explained. “People can behave strategically and respond to incentives.”

Fryer gathered this data from cities across the country, but mentioned many police departments often times weren’t willing to be transparent with their data. Some don’t have the data in a format where it would be feasible to analyze it–the data from Houston even needed to be hand-coded. Some just don’t have coherent data, some are more unwilling or untrustworthy.

“They don’t want a sloppy journalist taking the data and painting it in a certain way,” he said, adding that this was understandable.

He said that it’s difficult to isolate race as a factor and take into account gender, sexuality and other factors when doing research.

“It’s hard to know how race permeates other factors, with race under the umbrella of being a social construct,” he said.

He alluded to the notion that “no discrimination” has been the null hypothesis since the 1950’s and as a result; it takes more evidence when discrimination is a factor, given that it’s the null–in a jury trial, you’re innocent until proven guilty and in the same sense it’s not discrimination until proven otherwise.

When a student asked how to use incentive to eliminate economic disparities, Fryer said we need to increase economic mobility, since many people are coming to market with different skills, or their skills are being marketed differently with the presence of an achievement gap.

“We have to stop treating it [social reform] like it’s a flood in Nepal, saying ‘oh that’s too bad, I wish we could do something,’” said Fryer. “It’s easy to say we’re going to do something, but the critical element is empathy.” 

Kicking off SGA elections with Niner Palooza

President candidate Lauren Bullock and running mate Kevin Hines table at Niner Palooza. Photo by Pooja Pasupula.

As a part of Niner Palooza, the Student Government Association (SGA) organized the “Why Fair” on Thursday in the CHHS/COED Plaza to kick off SGA elections. Niner Palooza is a series of events that gets students involved with the elections, starting with the Why Fair, then the Debate Pep Rally, then the Election Debate at the end.

The first event was called the “Why Fair” because it gave students an opportunity to talk to candidates and members of SGA and ask them questions. When students asked questions, they got the chance to win a free food truck meal.

The CHHS Plaza had many different food trucks, including funnel cakes, barbecue, snowcones and popcorn. Students were also able to take pictures with Norm the Niner.

The fair also had many departmental showcases, such as the Office of Student Conduct, the Housing Ambassadors, International Programs, the Multicultural Resource Center and more. These departments were also available to provide information to students.

Elizabeth Moore, graduate assistant for the Office of International Programs, shared why they are showcasing their department in Niner Palooza.

“We wanted to participate in Niner Palooza to relay the message of the two big programs that we have right now, Global Gateways and International Women’s Day,” she said. “We’re here to show that there are programs out there that promote diversity and learning about other cultures.”

She explained that Global Gateways is an internationally-focused program that is designed to increase students’ cultural awareness, while taking part in an open and welcoming community.

Sophomore Class President Candidate, Rebecca Gill, also discussed some of her thoughts on the process of running for such a prominent leadership position.

“For me personally, I enjoy meeting people in my classes, I enjoy building networks,” she said. “I think the most gratifying part of it is whether I do or don’t win, I can still include people in my future activities and organizations.”

She also mentioned that the most difficult part of the process is not only getting the word out, but getting people to actually click the links and take time out of their day to vote.

Spring elections for SGA will be held from March 28 until March 29. Vote online at

Splashes for Special Olympics

Brothers of Phi Sigma Kappa throw another brother into the pool. Photo by Austin Chaney.

Phi Sigma Kappa had their third annual Polar Plunge fundraiser event on Feb. 25, located in the Belk Plaza, to raise money for the Special Olympics of Mecklenburg County.

The Polar Plunge is a fundraising event that supports the Special Olympics of North Carolina by allowing participants to jump into a cold body of water during the winter months. It is a popular event held throughout different states that not only raises donations for a good cause, but creates a fun environment for the people participating in the event as well.

The Special Olympics were founded to encourage individuals with intellectual disabilities to participate in sports and physical activity, allowing them to develop physical fitness and take part in a variety of athletic competitions. North Carolina has one of the largest Special Olympics programs in the world with nearly 40,000 registered athletes who train and compete in year-round programs in 19 different sports.

“We’re trying to send one local athlete to the local Olympics, that’s our yearly goal,” says Michael Ellis, a member of Phi Sigma and one of the participants that jumped in the pool. “There’s a lot of obstacles to setting up this event, but it’s ultimately worth it.”

He also mentioned the athlete that would eventually attend the Special Olympics has attended and spoken at the event in past years.

Phi Sigma set up a large pool for people to jump in and nearby were speakers playing music at the event. The Polar Plunge was open to everyone and did not include an admissions fee.

Over 100 people attended the event this year and nearly half of them jumped in the pool. The warm, sunny weather made it much easier for people to participate.

“Phi Sigma Kappa’s national philanthropy is the Special Olympics,” explained Roger Verastegui, organizer of this year’s Polar Plunge. “When trying to find a specific event to do, we thought the Polar Plunge would be the best one, it being February and we could get a lot of people to come out in the nice weather and donate.”

He mentioned that year they raised around $1,500 and the goal this year is to raise $2,500. The first year they began the fundraiser, they only raised $300 and they have already raised $1,000 so far for this year’s Polar Plunge. The event is expected to continue to grow every year.

APLU declares UNC Charlotte an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University

UNC Charlotte was founded as a school intended to serve returning veterans and eventually became a modest school for locals–now, it’s a leading research institution of nearly 29,000 students that has an estimated regional economic impact of $2.1 billion annually.

With this, the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) designated UNC Charlotte as an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University, a recognition created for universities that promote leading edge economic development within their regions and work with local organizations to stimulate development inside and outside of the collegiate community.

This means that UNC Charlotte has not only created opportunities for its own students to pioneer and implement new ideas, but also incited growth in industries in the greater Charlotte area.

The designation involved a 10-month self study with a specific methodology that schools use to self assess. The study surveyed the community, both internally through the faculty and staff and externally through businesses and organizations throughout the region.

Dr. Bruce LaMattina, Director of Research for the Charlotte Research Institute (CRI) and part of the team that led the school to this achievement, noted that the self-study ultimately helped us not only recognize our own strengths, but helped develop growth plans to make further progress.

“We sent a survey out to 500 folks who gave great feedback and provided the basis to go even deeper during in person focus group sessions.  This process led us to identify three areas of improvement: research growth, entrepreneurism and communications. The value of this designation is that it gives us an immense basis for growth in these areas,” said LaMattina.

He explained that much of the large-scale infrastructure that the university has invested in is closely tied to this economic development and associations with local industries.

The EPIC building, for example, originated from demand coming from the energy sector. LaMattina explained that the school’s leadership wanted to make an investment that not only fills the needs of the students, but the greater community and industry as well.

LaMattina also described the PORTAL building as the innovation center, where students are able to lay the groundwork for their own companies, as well as interact with outside entrepreneurs, small businesses all the way up to Fortune 500 companies.  LaMattina pointed out that one of the unique attributes leading to the Innovation and Economic Prosperity University designation is ability of our faculty and students to work across disciplines to create what he called “combinatorial innovation.”

The school has also been tremendously successful in developing specialized curricula to support the growing demands of Charlotte’s biggest industries, such as advanced manufacturing, motorsports engineering, bioinformatics, data analytics and more.

“Our research base is growing rapidly,” said LaMattina. “With the help of a support structure with organizations on campus, such as the Office of Technology Transfer, the Charlotte Research Institute and Ventureprise, we’re able to transfer our research to commercialization.”

He noted that the biggest challenge that UNC Charlotte has in this realm is keeping up with the exceptionally fast-growing economy of Charlotte as an urban domain and that any growing university faces this predicament. However, he believes that the students and faculty at the university embody the attributes necessary to be on par with this growth.

“We have a unique mindset toward use-inspired research which has a significant impact on the commercial sector,” LaMattina said. “Our students mirror that same mindset and companies love our students. Our students are very special in that regard and they should be really proud.”

Senate update: four new student organizations, Elections Act and Procedural Modifications Act approved

The UNC Charlotte Student Government Association (SGA) had their weekly legislative meeting Jan. 12.

Message from the Senate

Student Body Vice President and Leader of the Senate Carrie Nowell and Student Body President Fahn Darkor discussed various events and meetings organized for SGA to start off the new semester, such as a spring planning meeting and an Association of Student Government (ASG) meeting.

Interfaith Niners Initiative

A vacant room in the Cone University Center is going to be transformed during the summer to accommodate the Interfaith Niners Initiative and be used as a functional space. Student Body President Fahn Darkor will continue working with the Chancellor about updates on this project.

Approved Legislature: Campaign Rules and Regulations 

A new bill, called the Elections Act and Procedural Modifications Act, by Internal Affairs was approved by the Senate. The bill makes modifications to the regulations in campaigning, advertising, spending limits and expense reports involved in SGA elections.

Funding for Student Organizations

Various different student organizations were approved for funding. The overall grant money for all of these organizations totaled $8,228.63.

New Student Organizational Approval Bill

The Senate approved of the following new student organizations:

Business Innovation Club – A multidisciplinary organization that provides a platform for graduate students to explore and apply innovative concepts. It brings together students from a versatile range of academic areas and experience levels for joint learning.

Intersections UNC Charlotte – An organization that brings together students to learn biblical principles that can help them grow as ethical leaders. Encourages strength, faith and new perspectives of success no matter what career they choose. The club is primarily business-oriented but open to everyone, regardless of where they are spiritually or academically.

Water Polo Club – An intramural club that provides a competitive water polo environment for those who are interested. Members are able to attend games and gain effective and fun practice in water polo.

D.O.P.E. (Dreams of Pursuing Entertainment) – An organization that is intended for artists, musicians, producers, etc. to create fully produced performances on campus.

Ideas for New Legislature

The Internal Affairs Committee introduced an idea for Comprehensive Senate Leadership Remodeling Act, designed to balance power between members of the Senate and maximize efficiency. The bill would eliminate the Vice President and Pro Tempore roles and transform it into a Speaker’s Office, where all of the administrative powers will be transferred.

The bill has not been approved yet because the Constitution would have to be modified in order for the legislature to take effect.

Former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel speaks at UNC Charlotte

The Office of International Programs welcomed former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to speak to UNC Charlotte students, faculty and staff about his perspective on foreign policy, international security and the United States’ role on the global scale after the 2016 presidential election Dec. 1.

Hagel, who is a registered  Republican, believes a lack of bipartisanship is why the U.S. had the election it did. He noted that despite this, he has confidence America is capable of undergoing political realignment.

“Democracies do that, that’s one of our strengths: we can self-correct without revolution. It is imperfect but it works really well,” Hagel said.

Hagel also discussed that a lack of bipartisanship is a byproduct of the American people having lost confidence in their institutions. Polls taken in the past few years show that journalism ranks right at the bottom of institutions that Americans have lost confidence in.

“The only one that does not rank at the bottom is the military. Nearly 70-80 percent of people have confidence and trust in it,” said Hagel. “Every other institution is at the bottom. However, again, we have some opportunities to get realigned.”

Former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel speaks during International Speaker Series. Photo by Nora Alorainy.
Former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel speaks during International Speaker Series. Photo by Nora Alorainy.

In describing what he believes to be the quintessential form of bipartisanship, Hagel alluded to the coalitions of common interest after World War II in which we built the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank and other major institutions, all of which were predicated on the best interests of the people despite ideological differences.

“If we don’t start building a platform of consensus, we’ll never solve the rest of the problems and wind up in World War III,” Hagel said. “In a sophisticated technological age, no one would win. Emerging countries are becoming stronger, there is a diffusion of economic power that the world has never seen.”

Hagel explained that Americans are always adapting and adjusting and they must do that to stay relevant on a geopolitical scale. Given this, he advocates the United States’ continuation of building alliances and relationships so that it does not have to carry all of the burden as a country. He referenced the U.S.’ involvement in North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as an anecdote to demonstrate this.

He pointed out that though he believes NATO helps make us more relevant and creates pacific power, Trump has challenged NATO countries into taking more action in order to make it more effective.

“25 out of 28 of the nations in NATO are not complying with one of the basic charters of membership in NATO and that’s 2 percent of your GDP that goes to your own nation,” said Hagel. “One of those nations is Estonia. Not a lot of revenue coming in from there.”

Secretary Hagel argued that listening to one another is the most basic and critical constant in politics, but institutions tend to make it complicated for the society.

“In politics, we let absolutism seep into politics where we now have divisions,” he said. “Therefore, the Department of Defense and other big departments are not able to plan, resulting in a loss of productivity.”

Branching off of this, Hagel applied this to the 2016 election, expressing that this is why Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton did not win the presidency.

“She represented the status quo, everything America was fed up with,” he said.

Hagel also mentioned that the press has been irresponsible with the gravity in which it has hyperbolized Trump’s platform.

“He won’t be nearly as strident as anybody has guessed,” he said. “We’re not going to pull out of NATO or anything like that. Congress has a lot of power.”

All things considered, Hagel said he is optimistic about the future of the Trump Administration.

“With our system, he did win, and no recount will reverse that,” he said. “We owe him the opportunity to form his government and where he wants to take this country.”

Christina Sanchez, Associate Director of International Programs, appreciated Hagel’s candidness and forthright nature in providing a balanced and realistic perspective on where this country currently stands.

“Quite poignantly, it ended on a discussion about finances and our viability as a nation to maintain security based on how trustworthy we are,” said Sanchez. “It shed a light on how our fiscal responsibilities plays a role in that leverage.”

Student Assistant Elizabeth Prothero, who worked the event, said that she thought it was great to see people interacting with politics in the collegiate community.

“The talk made me understand more about the positions given to our political leaders and learn more about different political views because it’s a part of our everyday life,” said Prothero.

Hagel mentioned that his position as Secretary of Defense was challenging given the muddled nature of uncontrollable factors in foreign policy. However, the gratifying aspects of the position ultimately makes it worthwhile for him.

“I was privileged to work with magnificent men and women and their families that give so much to this country and ask for so little in return,” Hagel said. “To see that kind of dedication and service–that’s what really sustained me.”

Graduate School launches third year of veteran assistantships

This year, three military veterans will be selected to receive assistantships for a graduate education with funding from the Graduate School.

This funding, valued at $36,000 for master’s degree candidates and $45,000 for doctoral students, requires recipients to engage in tasks such as pursuing research under the guidance of a faculty member or working as a teacher’s assistant.

Students must be accepted into a graduate program and nominated by their Graduate Program Director in order to qualify for the program. The assistantships provide funding for resident tuition support and health insurance for two academic years, both for master’s students and doctoral students.

UNC Charlotte was founded immediately after World War II to serve returning veterans with the rising demands for education. Built under this platform, the school has grown to become a large research-intensive institution.

By creating this program in support of optimal educational opportunities for veterans, the Graduate School continues to embody the traditional and historical values of UNC Charlotte as a school established for veterans.

Dean Tom Reynolds of the Graduate School, a U.S. Navy veteran of the Vietnam War, believes in the noble value of military veterans to the UNC Charlotte community.

“These are students that are engaged, on time and are motivated, so I want to try to provide an opportunity to help them in different ways,” he said.

In addition to their academic endeavors and their participation in teaching assistant and research positions, the recipients of the program also take part in resources that help other students on campus, including other veterans.

“We’re getting the second year students together to provide mentoring for other veterans on campus through the Center for Graduate Life and other various professional development programs,” Dean Reynolds said.

The well-rounded nature of the assistantships’ funding through work and campus contribution was rooted in the veterans’ outlook on education.

According to Reynolds, veterans exceptionally recognize the value of their education and the value of the funding, so they seek to make the program a meaningful pursuit.

“We interviewed some veterans about what kind of funding they would like, and they were not receptive to the concept of doing a scholarship,” Dean Reynolds said. “They felt like it was unfair to just take money and didn’t want to feel like they were receiving money for nothing. So we made it an assistantship where they could be TA’s or do research.”

The outreach and support for veterans is an integral part of UNC Charlotte’s community and the assistantship program is expected to grow substantially in the following years.

The invaluable contribution of veterans to the University, both academically and culturally, makes it a worthwhile undertaking for the Graduate School.

“I want to make sure its endowed and has sufficient funding so that the program can continue to grow and do the great work it has been doing,” Dean Reynolds said.

Belk College welcomes guest CEO speaker

CEO of Premier Inc. Susan DeVore spoke to nearly 500 students of the Belk College of Business in the Student Union Multipurpose Room for the CEO Speaker Series Oct. 19.

The event took place from 11 to 11:45 a.m., giving students and faculty the opportunity to hear from notable leaders in the business community, with a distinguished guest CEO as the main speaker.

UNC Charlotte’s Belk College of Business has undergone massive growth since its establishment in 1960, and is now a largly renowned urban research business school with more than 28,000 alumni.

“We have a long list of business leaders who have started their own companies, sometimes even while pursuing their education here at UNC Charlotte,” Dean of the Belk College of Business Steve Ott said. 

The primary guest speaker at the event was DeVore, CEO of Premier Inc., a leading healthcare improvement company, a graduate of UNC Charlotte and known amongst the community as an influential business leader.

DeVore gave advice to students by speaking of her experiences as a UNC Charlotte student, her ventures into the business world and the avenues to her successes.

“You must be adaptable to everything around you and to have a mindset that you’re going to make everyone else successful too,” Devore said regarding qualities that are essential to being favorable in the workforce. “Nobody in any executive position is going to be successful unless there’s an ecosystem of successful people around them.”

She also notes that it is important for students to be versatile and willing to experience new things so that they can optimize fulfillment in their careers. She explained that it’s easy to feel trapped when their jobs become a redundant cycle with very little challenges.

“One thing people regret the most is that they never stepped out of the box they were in, never tried something different,” she said. “People are more afraid of what they can become more than they are of failing.”

Towards the end of her speech, Devore answered students’ questions about the new generation of business graduates and opportunities available for them both within the University and in the field of business.

She acknowledged the value of millennials in society and the attributes that they can bring to employers.

“Entrepreneurial spirit is a cultural element that needs to be embedded to bring ideas forward,” she said. “Millennials have a want and passion for important work; they aren’t afraid to challenge the status quo and are so socially and technologically connected, making you all very valuable to the workforce.”


Head shavings for child savings

Claps, high fives and proud chants echoed the room each time a set of three volunteers donated their hair. With the help of 79 of these volunteers, Alpha Omega Epsilon (AOE) hosted a successful event in effort to raise money for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, an organization that specifically obtains funding for childhood cancer research.

Event Coordinator Marissa Burchette has worked to make the event more outstanding every year. The Cone Lucas Room, where the fundraiser was held from 6 to 8:30 p.m., had a live DJ, photo booth, a jumping castle, snow cones, pizza and Chick-Fil-A for everyone that attended. In addition, the focus of the room was the stage on which the volunteers would get their hair shaved off by Sport Clips employees.

In the three years that AOE has been initiating the fundraiser, they’ve raised over $10,000 in funds to donate to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

Burchette explained why her personal experiences prompted her to pioneer the event and emphasized the importance of intimately relating to the children that are fighting against cancer.

“I had a family member who has been chronically ill and I’ve witnessed what it’s like for that person to be left out because they’re not able to do things other people can do,” said Burchette. “I think the fact that with St. Baldrick’s, not only do you raise money, but you shave your head in solidarity, really hit home with me.”

Student volunteer has their head shaven during annual St. Baldrick's fundraiser. Photo by Pooja Pasupula.
Student volunteer has their head shaven during annual St. Baldrick’s fundraiser. Photo by Pooja Pasupula.

St. Baldrick’s mission is to fund for the development of cancer therapy drugs for children, and the proceeds go directly into these research grants. So far, St. Baldrick’s has awarded more than $22 million in 2016.

“I think it’s great that the St. Baldrick’s especially focuses on childhood cancer and getting the word out for it,” said Madison Siler, president of Alpha Omega Epsilon and speaker at the event. “There are many other cancer foundations but most of them are adult based.”

Siler also pointed out that getting people personally engaged in the event will make a much more substantial impact than simply getting donations.

“It’s important for the college community to build awareness for the cause and get more attention drawn to it rather than to just raise money, so we try our best to make the event bigger every year,” she said.

UNC Charlotte freshman Ben Fiser, along with many other bold college students, was one of the participants that was more than willing to give away his hair for a charitable cause.

“It means a lot to contribute to such an important cause,” Fiser said. “I don’t have to go through the struggles that these children are going through, but by just shaving my head I can bring awareness and hopefully some sort of help for them.”

The top earning volunteers this year were Eric Joyce, who raised $720, Kristin Jean Randolph, who earned $550 and Gabrielle Maynard, who earned $443.

“I think people forget that it’s just hair. It doesn’t define you in any way, and it’s great when people don’t care about that and put it towards a greater cause,” Burchette said.

To make a donation to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, go to

UNC Charlotte hosts 41st International Festival

Brazilian dancers performing during the 41st annual International Festival. Photo by Natasha Morehouse.
Brazilian dancers performing during the 41 annual International Festival. Photo by Natasha Morehouse.

A vast number of nations and cultures consolidated to host the University’s most dynamic yearly event in the Barnhardt Student Activity Center (SAC) Sept. 24. In the light of the cultural divide brought about by this week’s incidents, the festival provided a positive outlet from the city’s turbulence that inspired unity amongst the community and cultural appreciation.

The event began at 10 a.m. and continued until 6 p.m., giving students and the surrounding Charlotte community time to appreciate an array of activities, music, art and food with no admission fee. Many cultures were able to embrace and celebrate their identity by contributing to the event.

The festival is arranged with many booths, each representing their own country, aligned in a circular fashion around the Arena Floor of the SAC. This extends outside of the SAC as well, where there are more booths and outdoor games for attendants of all ages and interests.

Each of the booths are run by both student and community volunteers that display staple components of their heritage, including costumes, food, face-painting, ceramics and other cultural merchandise.

“The positive energy that comes from all the people being around each other is what brings us back every year and work to make it a great day,” said Emina Smailagie, a long time volunteer of the Bosnia booth from the Charlotte community.

Many of the booths even played music, bringing more vitality and dimension in addition to the object-oriented parts of the culture. Both the inside and outside stages had bands that play live music for attendants while they browse the festival. The types of live music ranged from Caribbean and Latin to African and Celtic.

The festival is aligned around the Arena Floor as the focal point, where each country’s individualism is showcased through the Parade of Nations and the Festivals of Music and Dance. Dance is seen as one of the many vital artistic mediums through which people of different regions express their culture and values, making the dance performances on the Arena Floor a notably popular exhibit every year.

Iran walks on stage during the Parade of Nations. Photo by Austin Chaney.
Iran walks on stage during the Parade of Nations. Photo by Austin Chaney.

“Dance is a great part of the festival … diversity and culture is a part of everybody who lives in a big city. Everyone wants to know about other cultures and the festival is a big success because of that,” said Masoud Sobhani, a graduate student at UNC Charlotte and a volunteer at the Iran booth.

Kate Poisson, coordinator of the International Festival, spoke of why the 41 year hosting the event is particularly special.

“We are working with the city of Charlotte as part of an initiative called Charlotte Welcoming Week, which is both a citywide and nationwide organization that is trying to make cities more welcoming to immigrants and refugees from around the world. We’re thrilled that this year’s international festival is the capstone event for that,” said Poisson.

Poisson also mentioned that there were over 60 countries represented this year, an increase from the typical range of 50 countries that are typically displayed at the festival. The immense growth of the festival every year represents the abundant diversity not only within the University, but the entire Charlotte community as well.

“The unification of diverse people is what makes the festival so special. All of us are the same. We may have different looks, different skin types, but at the end of the day we enjoy the same aspects of life,” said UNC Charlotte alumni Fred Absaloms, attendant of the Tanzania booth.

Photos by Natasha Morehouse, Pooja Pasupula and Austin Chaney.

Campus police shine light on alcohol awareness

Football season is right around the corner and drinking is a prime concern for community officials, as the vibrant spirit of college tailgating brings in the likelihood of excessive alcohol consumption.

With this is mind, the Mecklenburg County ABC Board partnered with the UNC Charlotte Police Department to host an alcohol awareness event Sept. 6 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the CHHS Quad.

Other facilities took part in the event by setting up interactive stations which provided students with infographics, personal stories and activities to inform students of the repercussions associated with irresponsible alcohol consumption–these facilities included the Dean of Students Office, Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department, Highway Patrol, Monroe Police Department and Mecklenburg County Safe.

A student attempts a field sobriety test where she must walk in a straight line while wearing drunk googles. Photo by Pooja Pasupula.
A student attempts a field sobriety test where she must walk in a straight line while wearing drunk googles. Photo by Pooja Pasupula.

The Charlotte Mecklenburg ABC Board and The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department allowed participating students to drive golf carts while wearing drunk goggles and take Standard Field Sobriety Tests.

Students who completed the challenge had the opportunity to get a free t-shirt and wristband while learning firsthand about the risks of driving while impaired.

“One of our initiatives is that we want to partner with any college or university that will partner with us to help keep their students safe,” said Julia Paul, community outreach director of the Mecklenburg ABC Board. “We brought these sobriety tests to help people really see what it feels like before they make that fatal mistake.”

Gabrielle Williams also took part in the event by sharing a her story of her best friend who died by the hands of a drunk driver, providing a new perspective on the poignant impacts of drunk driving.

“Me and my best friend Lacee Sullivan were driving down I-77 and got hit from behind by a drunk driver that was going over 100 miles per hour,” said Williams. “We ended up flipping off of the interstate and she completely lost consciousness. I never saw her after that.”

The vehicle from the incident was brought out for display in the CHHS Quad, with a poster commemorating Sullivan in front of the vehicle. Williams is now sharing her best friend’s story on a larger scale to help prevent similar tragedies in the realm of alcohol and drug use.

The possibility of student conduct repercussions is a notorious fear among college students when it comes to seeking help when one’s health is put at risk from drugs or alcohol.

The Dean of Students Office had a panel at the event to introduce the newly revised Help Seeking Protocol, a process that allows students to utilize community and campus resources for help without the barrier of student conduct liabilities if proper measures are taken.

“We want to ensure that students have a safe experience, especially with football coming up and make sure students realize that they have options,” says Officer Jerry Lecomte, a coordinator of UNC Charlotte’s Community-Oriented Police Division. “If there’s a call to be made when somebody’s had too much to drink or they are afraid for their friend’s safety, we are a resource on campus. They can call us and we can find them help.”

Lecomte also noted that there are a number of recovery resources available for students who feel they are having issues with alcohol management through the collegiate recovery community.

Anuvia, a treatment and recovery center funded by the Mecklenburg ABC Board, was one of these resources available at the event to talk to students about seeking professional help.

With the prominent tailgate culture of college athletics approaching soon, Lecomte advises students to be sound decision makers in response to peer pressure and utilize campus resources, such as the newly revised Help Seeking Protocol, in situations where help is necessary.